A new development from Purina Institute is poised to provide relief for those who suffer from feline allergies.
Researchers with the company have established a proactive method to decrease active levels of the allergen, Fel d1, in cats’ saliva through diet, effectively reducing active levels of the protein released into the environment.
“These allergens have created a huge barrier to cat ownership and may limit the loving interactions between cat lovers and cats,” says Ebenezer Satyaraj, PhD, director of molecular nutrition at Purina and lead investigator on the research. “Our discovery has the potential to transform how people manage cat allergens.”
Produced primarily in cats’ salivary and sebaceous glands, Fel d1 is typically transferred to the animals’ hair and skin during grooming and then released into the environment. The protein is produced by all cats, regardless of breed, age, hair length, hair color, sex, and body weight, and is the cause of up to 95 percent of allergic reactions in humans.
Building off natural allergen-antibody interactions, Purina’s researchers were able to safely neutralize the allergen in hair and dander by incorporating an egg product containing anti-Fel d1 antibodies (IgY) into cats’ diets.
The results, published in Immunity, Inflammation and Disease, showed decreased levels of active Fel d1 on the hair and dander of 97 percent of cats that were fed a diet that included IgY. On average, there was a 47 percent reduction of active Fel d1 on cats’ hair after three weeks of being fed the antibody, Purina reports.
The approach, which was presented by Purina scientists at the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology Congress 2019, maintains normal allergen production by the cat without affecting the animal’s overall physiology.
For more on the research, click here.