Virginia Commonwealth University immunologists studying mast cells, known to play a central role in asthma and allergic disease, have identified a hormone-like molecule that can kill these cells by programming them to die in studies with mice.
The findings move researchers another step closer to understanding the life cycle of mast cells, and may help researchers develop new treatments for allergy and inflammatory responses in arthritis, multiple sclerosis and heart disease.
In the Journal of Immunology, published online Aug. 23, researchers demonstrated the means by which a cytokine called interferon gamma (IFNy) induces death of developing mast cells in a mouse model system. Although IFNy induced cell death in developing mast cells, it did not affect the survival of mast cells that had already undergone differentiation.
Sathya Achia-Abraham | EurekAlert!
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