Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Caspase-1 protein governs the body inflammatory response

13.12.2007
What happens when bacteria infect the human body?

In an attempt to shed light on this process, Dr. Maya Saleh, researcher at the critical care division and the centre for the study of host resistance of the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) Research Institute, describes previously unsuspected metabolic pathways involved in the inflammatory response. This discovery could lead to many potential benefits, particularly for the treatment of sepsis: infections that spread to the blood and deteriorates into a whole-body inflammatory state.

Her study is published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry. Because of the high quality of the research, this article was selected as a "Paper of the Week" for the December 14, 2007 issue of the journal, a distinction awarded to only one percent of its publications.

One of the body's first defenses against a bacterial infection is the activation of pathogen-eating cells called macrophages, which ingest the bacteria. This ingestion activates a protein inside the macrophage called Caspase-1. Dr. Saleh's study shows that Caspase-1 is the starting point for many metabolic reactions that, together, lead to the death of the macrophage and activate the rest of the immune system.

One of the roles of Caspase-1 in inflammation has been known for many years, namely that it activates immune system messengers called cytokines, which in turn activate the body's entire defense mechanism. But we now know this is not its sole function: "Our study demonstrates that Caspase-1 also causes the death of the macrophage by destroying some of the cell's basic structures and by blocking many metabolic pathways. The main pathway it blocks is glycolysis, or the production of energy through the breakdown of glucose," said Dr. Saleh, who is also an assistant professor in the faculty of medicine at the McGill University.

This finding opens new doors for fundamental research. Previous results suggested that Caspase-1 is also involved in fatal respiratory arrest that can occur during septic shock. Further research will be required to determine if that blockade of glycolysis by caspase-1 is a contributing factor.

This study could also have an important impact on the applied research of pharmaceutical companies. Currently, most anti-inflammatory drugs prescribed to fight sepsis target cytokines. "We know empirically that the effect of medications that target cytokines during sepsis is limited; our study demonstrates that Caspase-1 would be a more effective target", added Dr. Saleh. Since sepsis is no longer considered simply as a "cytokine storm", but as a more complex network of metabolic reactions, our vision of how to fight it needs to evolve accordingly.

The Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI MUHC) is a world-renowned biomedical and health-care hospital research centre. Located in Montreal, Quebec, the institute is the research arm of the MUHC, a university health center affiliated with the Faculty of Medicine at McGill University. The institute supports over 500 researchers, nearly 1000 graduate and post-doctoral students and operates more than 300 laboratories devoted to a broad spectrum of fundamental and clinical research. The Research Institute operates at the forefront of knowledge, innovation and technology and is inextricably linked to the clinical programs of the MUHC, ensuring that patients benefit directly from the latest research-based knowledge.

For more information please contact:

Isabelle Kling
Communications Coordinator (research)
MUHC Public Relations and Communications
(514) 934-1934 #36419
isabelle.kling@muhc.mcgill.ca

Isabelle Kling | MUHC
Further information:
http://www.muhc.ca/research

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht The Great Unknown: Risk-Taking Behavior in Adolescents
19.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht A sudden drop in outdoor temperature increases the risk of respiratory infections
11.01.2017 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New Study Will Help Find the Best Locations for Thermal Power Stations in Iceland

19.01.2017 | Earth Sciences

Not of Divided Mind

19.01.2017 | Life Sciences

Molecule flash mob

19.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>