Researchers at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston have identified a new type of cell in mice that dampens the immune system and protects the animal's own cells from immune system attack.
This "suppressor" cell reduces the production of harmful antibodies that can drive lupus and other autoimmune diseases in which the immune system mistakenly turns on otherwise healthy organs and tissues.
The discovery, published in the September 16 issue of Nature (H Kim, et al.; Vol 467 in Letters), resulted from Lupus Research Institute funding to Harvey Cantor, MD, and colleagues on a separate immune system topic.
Now the discovery will be used to explore therapies that might control the hyperactive immune system in lupus. "These CD8+ T suppressor cells represent a potential new lever for lowering the strength of the immune response in autoimmune diseases such as lupus," Dr. Cantor said.
Staying Open to Discovery
Until now, scientists searching for cells involved in quieting the immune system response had focused their hunt on "regulatory CD4+ T cells"—also known as CD4+ Treg. Some of these cells have been shown to prevent harmful inflammatory diseases and infections.
In the Nature study, Harvey Cantor, MD, and his team reported that not just CD4+T cells but CD8+ T cells as well include a subset that helps dampen the immune response. Instead of reducing inflammation like their CD4 cousins, the CD8+ T regulatory cells ensure that the immune system doesn't produce antibodies that attack normal cells.
Lead author Hye-Jung Kim and colleagues made the discovery as they were winding up unrelated LRI-funded work into the role in autoimmunity of a protein found inside immune cells called osteopontin.
"Our LRI funds allowed us to carry out the early experiments that led to the definition of the CD8 suppressor cells." - Dr. Cantor.
"We were testing osteopontin's activity against a population of cells known as follicular T helper cells," explained Dr. Cantor. "We noted that the cells were responsive to osteopontin but also that they expressed what we knew to be the target of suppressor CD8+ T cells."
As next steps, Dr. Cantor and his team will investigate whether defective CD8+ T suppressor cells actually could be a cause of lupus and might serve as a powerful drug target for quieting the immune system response in autoimmunity.
Systemic lupus erythematosis is a chronic complex and potentially fatal autoimmune disease that affects more than 1.5-million Americans, mostly young women in their child-bearing years. Lupus causes the immune system to become hyperactive, forming antibodies that attack and damage the body's own tissues and vital organs including the heart, brain, kidneys and lungs. Lupus is a leading cause of cardiovascular disease, kidney disease and stroke among young women. As yet, there is no known cause or cure but the progress of recent discoveries is highly promising.
About The Lupus Research Institute
The Lupus Research Institute, (LRI) is the world's leading private supporter of innovative research in lupus, pioneering discovery to prevent, treat, and cure this complex and dangerous autoimmune disease. Founded in 2000 by families and shaped by scientists, the LRI champions scientific creativity and risk taking, mandating sound science and rigorous peer review to uncover and support only the highest ranked novel research. At the end of 2009, the Institute marked a breakthrough first decade – generating $100-million for bold and imaginative novel science in lupus – work that would not exist without the LRI's high risk, high reward strategy.
Liane Stegmaier | EurekAlert!
Building a brain, cell by cell: Researchers make a mini neuron network (of two)
23.05.2018 | Institute of Industrial Science, The University of Tokyo
Research reveals how order first appears in liquid crystals
23.05.2018 | Brown University
At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.
At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...
There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?
At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...
So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics
Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...
The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...
A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.
The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...
02.05.2018 | Event News
13.04.2018 | Event News
12.04.2018 | Event News
23.05.2018 | Life Sciences
23.05.2018 | Life Sciences
23.05.2018 | Physics and Astronomy