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Clinical Center News
March 2016

NIH scientists discover genetic cause of rare allergy to vibration

Scientists at the National Institutes of Health have identified a genetic mutation responsible for a rare form of inherited hives induced by vibration.
Scientists at the National Institutes of Health have identified a genetic mutation responsible for a rare form of inherited hives induced by vibration.
 

Scientists at the NIH have identified a genetic mutation responsible for a rare form of inherited hives induced by vibration, also known as vibratory urticaria. Running, hand clapping, towel drying or even taking a bumpy bus ride can cause temporary skin rashes in people with this rare disorder. By studying affected families at the NIH Clinical Center, researchers discovered how vibration promotes the release of inflammatory chemicals from the immune system's mast cells, causing hives and other allergic symptoms.

Their findings, published online in the New England Journal of Medicine on Feb. 3, suggest that people with this form of vibratory urticaria experience an exaggerated version of a normal cellular response to vibration. The study was led by researchers at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), both part of NIH.

Read more in the NIH press release online.