It regulates the immune system of the digestive tract, which is made up of immune cells, immunoglobulins (antibodies) as well as intestinal bacteria.
An international team of scientists supported by the Helmholtz Zentrum München has now discovered how this complex interaction functions and how lymphotoxin controls the production of immunoglobulins in the gut. The results are published in the latest issue of the specialist journal Science.New insights into the immune system of the gastrointestinal tract
Lymphotoxins control the production of immunoglobulin A (IgA) and thus participate in immune responses as well as in the regular composition of the intestinal flora, the scientists report in the study. The team led by Dr. Andrey Kruglov and Professor Sergei Nedospasov from the German Rheumatism Research Center (DRFZ) Berlin, an institute of the Leibniz Association, Professor Mathias Heikenwälder from the Institute of Virology at the Helmholtz Zentrum München (HMGU) as well as other national and international partners were able to show that lymphotoxins – soluble lymphotoxin alpha (sLTa3) as well as membrane-bound lymphotoxin beta (LTa1b2) – induce IgA production and support the body’s immune response. Lymphotoxins are inflammatory messengers that are formed by immune cells when they come into contact with pathogens. If these lymphotoxins are lacking, IgA production is reduced or even halted, resulting in changes in the intestinal flora.
“The results provide us with new insights into how the enteric immune system functions. The relationship between inflammatory messengers and the performance of the immune system helps us to understand how intestinal diseases occur“, Professor Heikenwälder explains. He adds another important relevance of their results: “These insights are also important for the treatment with certain immunomodulators (such as tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF) blockers, e.g. etanercept). They bind soluble lymphotoxin and could therefore also influence IgA production and as a result upset the immunological balance.”
As German Research Center for Environmental Health, Helmholtz Zentrum München pursues the goal of developing personalized medical approaches for the prevention and therapy of major common diseases such as diabetes mellitus and lung diseases. To achieve this, it investigates the interaction of genetics, environmental factors and lifestyle. The Helmholtz Zentrum München has about 2,200 staff members and is headquartered in Neuherberg in the north of Munich. Helmholtz Zentrum München is a member of the Helmholtz Association, a community of 18 scientific-technical and medical-biological research centers with a total of about 34,000 staff members.Scientific contact
Mathias Heikenwälder | EurekAlert!
A Map of the Cell’s Power Station
18.08.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau
On the way to developing a new active ingredient against chronic infections
18.08.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für Infektionsforschung
Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
16.08.2017 | Event News
04.08.2017 | Event News
26.07.2017 | Event News
18.08.2017 | Life Sciences
18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences