German researchers have found that targeting two G proteins could treat the vascular symptoms of anaphylactic shock while avoiding the cardiovascular side effects of epinephrine, the standard of care. If a selective inhibitor for the two proteins, GNAQ and GNA11, proves safer than epinephrine, the finding could result in the first new treatment for anaphylaxis in more than six decades.
Anaphylaxis is a severe, systemic allergic reaction characterized by a decrease in blood pressure due to blood vessel dilation, an increase in vascular permeability that can lead to angioedema, and constriction of airway passages, among other symptoms.
Epinephrine addresses the two main ways anaphylaxis becomes lethal: it reverses vascular permeability and opens the airways. But epinephrine is associated with serious cardiovascular side effects, including tachycardia and arrhythmia, which can be fatal in anaphylactic patients with hypertension or coronary artery disease (CAD).
Allergens trigger anaphylaxis by stimulating