These "beneficial" immune cells display a propensity to migrate from the blood into inflamed nervous tissue. "Drawn in by specific chemoattractants, they obviously counteract the detrimental effects of other immune cells in the brain," explains Heinz Wiendl, Professor at the Department of Neurology of the University of Würzburg.
Wiendl's research group presents this new research results in the journal Annals of Neurology. The findings are based on a variety of experiments using biomaterial from multiple sclerosis (MS) patients including blood, cerebrospinal fluid and tissue of the central nervous system (CNS).
A concept for a new form of therapy?
Thus, this work represents a demonstration of the existence of protective elements in the immune activities within the brain of MS patients. Conceptually this beneficial inflammatory factor should counterbalance inflammation in the CNS, but their impact obviously is not strong enough to dampen the disease. However, the notion of such activities might be enhanced in a therapeutic approach eventually benefiting the patients.
How can this be achieved? "An answer to this question as well as a possible practical approach is the long-term objective of our work," says Wiendl. But the next step for the Würzburg researchers is to characterize this regulatory T-cell population more precisely and to find ways of using them for therapeutic purposes.
Interesting molecules on the surface
The beneficial immune cells have been identified as so-called naturally regulatory T-cells. Wiendl's team discovered and described them in a publication in the journal Blood in 2007.
The characteristic of these cells: On their surface, they express a protein called HLA-G, which is attributed to have a strong immunosuppressive function. The signal for the migration of the cells into inflamed tissue is obviously influenced by another surface molecule, the so-called chemokine receptor CCR5. This is an additional new finding of the Würzburg scientists.
Multiple sclerosis: about the disease
Globally, approximately 2.5 million people are affected by multiple sclerosis; in Germany, there are about 122,000 patients according to current estimates. Here, approximately 2,500 new cases of the disease are diagnosed per year. Women aquire the disease almost twice as often as men.
In MS patients, the immune system mistakenly attacks the components of the nervous system, most prominently the nerve sheaths eventually destructing neural cells. Most often, the onset of the disease starts in early adulthood with relapsing remitting neurological symptoms. Initially people affected perceive tingling sensations in arms and legs, have walking disturbances or encounter visual problems. In the course of disease patients often acquire permanent disability. Some of them need a wheel-chair at later stages.
At the moment, there is no cure for multiple sclerosis; however, medical treatment can alleviate the symptoms of the patients and improve their quality of life. The Department of Neurology in Würzburg accommodates more than 2000 MS patients.
Specific Central Nervous System Recruitment of HLA-G+ Regulatory T Cells in Multiple Sclerosis, Huang YH, Zozulya A, Weidenfeller C, Metz I, Buck D, Toyka KV, Brück W, Wiendl H., Annals of Neurology 2009; DOI: 10.1002/ana.21705
Prof. Dr. Heinz Wiendl, T ++ 49 (931) 201-23755 or ++ 49 (931)201-23756, email@example.com
About Heinz Wiendl
Professor Heinz Wiendl is in charge of the clinical research group for multiple sclerosis and neuroimmunology at the Department of Neurology of the University of Würzburg. The work of the research group is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG). Furthermore, Wiendl is currently the speaker of the Multiple Sclerosis Competence Network, which is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.
Robert Emmerich | idw
Symbiotic bacteria: from hitchhiker to beetle bodyguard
28.04.2017 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis
28.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Grenzflächen- und Bioverfahrenstechnik IGB
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
28.04.2017 | Event News
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering
28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences
28.04.2017 | Life Sciences