Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Double Agents: Penn Researchers Identify Immune Cells That Fight Parasites May Promote Allergies and Asthma

12.03.2010
Millions of people in both the developing and developed world may benefit from new immune-system research findings from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine.

The Penn Vet researchers, studying how the immune system operates, have discovered a previously unidentified cell population that may be the body’s double-edged sword, fighting off parasitic infections but also causing the harmful immune responses that can lead to allergies and asthma.

This cell population, termed multipotent progenitor cells, or MPP, appears to be activated in the context of allergies or infection with parasitic worms and may be one of the earliest cellular events in the developing immune response. The research published by David Artis, assistant professor in the Department of Pathobiology at Penn Vet, and colleagues may identify an important process in the immune response to helminth parasites and allergies.

A better understanding of what regulates the development of this cell population and what promotes its activation and function may aid in the development of drugs.

The research could benefit two patient populations: Those in developing countries still wrestling with parasitic worm infections and those in more industrialized environments where parasites are less prevalent but where immune responses can run amok, leading to a higher prevalence of allergies and asthma.

Millions worldwide struggle with health problems due to parasitic worms. These helminth worm parasites thrive in unsanitary conditions, in uncooked meat and in contaminated water. In more sanitary regions with fewer helminth parasites, the immune response that evolved to fight these infections may be redundant. It has been proposed that, due to reduced exposure to helminth parasites, the inactive immune response may inappropriately respond to substances like pollen, pollutants and some contents of food, resulting in exaggerated rates of asthma and allergy.

The National Institutes of Health estimates that as many as 40 to 50 million Americans suffer from allergic diseases. Consistent with this theory of redundancy, there are reports that show equatorial regions with an abundance of helminth parasites have populations that encounter lower rates of asthma and allergies.

“From an evolutionary perspective, it is likely that we evolved a complex immune response to fight parasitic worms, but our more sanitized environment no longer has this same population of parasites,” Artis said. “This newly identified cell population could represent one of the earliest events in this type of immune response, which offers potential new targets for treatment of infection and allergic inflammation.”

The research team demonstrated that a molecule called IL25, a member of the IL17 cytokine family, promotes the accumulation of a lineage-negative multipotent progenitor cell population in the intestine that promotes T cell responses associated with asthma and helminth infection. The resulting cell population gives rise to cells of macrophage and granulocyte lineages. The ability of IL25 to induce the emergence of an MPP cell population identifies a link between the IL17 cytokine family and extramedullary haematopoiesis and suggests a previously unrecognized innate immune pathway that promotes TH2 cytokine responses at mucosal sites.

The study, published in the current issue of Nature, was conducted by Artis, Steven A. Saenz, Mark C. Siracusa, Jacqueline G. Perrigoue and Sean P. Spencer of the Department of Pathobiology at Penn; Taku Kambayashi and Avinash Bhandoola of the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at Penn; Joseph F. Urban Jr. of the U.S. Department of Agriculture; Joel E. Tocker and Alison L. Budelsky of the Department of Inflammation Research at Amgen; and Melanie A. Kleinschek and Robert A. Kastelein of Discovery Research at Schering-Plough Biopharma.

The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, a National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive Kidney Disease Center Grant and the University of Pennsylvania.

Tocker and Budelsky are stockholding employees of Amgen. Kleinschek and Kastelein are employees of Schering-Plough Biopharma, a subsidiary of Merck & Co. Inc.

Jordan Reese | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.upenn.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Symbiotic bacteria: from hitchhiker to beetle bodyguard
28.04.2017 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

nachricht Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis
28.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Grenzflächen- und Bioverfahrenstechnik IGB

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>