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Grass family include a great variety of species worldwide spread, being therefore global causes of Allergy
Globally is considered to be the most important cause of pollinosis in Europe, due to its high ability to induce allergy, its abundance (50% of the pollen belong to the grass family) and its wide distribution (20% of the vegetal surface of the world).
From 1873 Charles Blackey showed that grass pollen was the responsible of the so called “hay fever”. Pollen grains are the vehicles that carry the allergen; the tinier they are (as grass pollen), easier to be wind-borne.
Pollen grains are vehicles moving the allergen: the tinier they are (as grass are), the easier they can be air-borne.
They are cultured to maintain the vegetation in rural areas and in gardens, as well as to prevent erosion. They are a vital food for many animals (including the human race): cereals are cultured grass of special importance to all of us.
The most important genus for allergic patients are Phleum (timothy grass), dactylis (cock’s foot or orchard grass), lolium (perennial or english Ryegrass), poa (Kentucky bluegrass or common Meadow-grass) holcus (velvet grass) y festuca (meadow fescue).
The grass problem
The molecules causing the allergy are very similar in all the members of the grass family: the allergic patient reacts to all different grasses. Moreover some proteins in the grass are also found in other plants and trees; they are called panallergens.
Recent studies have recognizez some of the proteins and built a 3D model, allowing to know its characteristics. Next step will be to make better allergy vaccines to cure the disease, which is the main objective of the Allergy medical speciality.