Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Promising new target emerges for autoimmune diseases

01.09.2009
Discovery that chemistry in zone between cells influences immune T-cell activity also has implications for future cancer therapies

University of Michigan scientists say they have uncovered a fundamentally new mechanism that holds in check aggressive immune cells that can attack the body’s own cells. The findings open a new avenue of research for future therapies for conditions ranging from autoimmune diseases to organ transplants to cancer.

The scientists discovered that the immune system’s regulatory T cells, a topic of intense medical research, influence aggressive immune cells by regulating the chemical environment between cells. The results appear online ahead of print in Nature Chemical Biology.

“Now we know that the redox environment outside the cell is a very important dynamic. It regulates cell function,” says U-M biochemistry professor Ruma Banerjee, the study’s senior author and the Vincent Massey Collegiate Professor of Biological Chemistry and associate chair of biological chemistry at the U-M Medical School. Processes known as redox chemistry are fundamental to the way cells derive and consume energy.

Regulatory T cells appear to alter the chemical environment around their aggressive cousins, known as autoreactive T cells, in ways that either suppress them or cause them to proliferate, the study found. It is likely that this mechanism is involved in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and ulcerative colitis, Banerjee says.

After examining the process further, Banerjee’s team would like to apply the insights in animal studies. The study results have implications for scientists looking for ways to enlist regulatory T cells to rein in misguided autoreactive T cells, and for other research areas as well. Regulatory T cells also influence the immune response in cancer, pregnancy, organ transplants and infection.

Context

Certain T cells in the immune system which normally attack invaders of the body can cause autoimmune diseases when they react instead against the body’s own cells. These auto reactive T cells are thought to cause multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and other diseases.

In these diseases, researchers want T regulatory cells to restrain excessive action by autoreactive T cells. But to control cancer, researchers would like to partially inhibit T regulatory cells, so that autoreactive T cells will be able to identify and vigorously attack cancer cells.

The U-M scientists found that redox chemistry, an emerging area of interest among scientists, plays a significant role in the way immune cells regulate each other. Redox chemistry plays a role in many diseases. Banerjee believes that the study’s findings should heighten the chances of success in regulating T regulatory cells to curb disease.

“Redox chemistry is a mechanism that is fundamentally important in understanding T regulatory cell actions,” says Zhonghua Yan, the graduate student who is first author of the study.

Research details

By studying live mouse immune cells cultured in lab dishes, the team found that important redox communication occurs between dendritic cells, which are the first immune cells to detect a foreign agent, and autoreactive T cells. The dendritic cells alter the chemical environment outside cells in a way that promotes activation of the T cells. But then T regulatory cells “intervene in the redox chatter” and suppress that effect, says co-author Sanjay Garg, Ph.D., a research investigator in the U-M Department of Biological Chemistry.

What’s next

Banerjee says her team needs to do more work to fully understand the process before they can use their insights to block or encourage T regulatory cell activity in animal studies of IBD or another autoimmune disease.

“We are keen to move this into a disease model,” she says, a step made easier because the pathway by which T regulatory cells appear to affect the redox chemistry outside cells is a well known one.

Additional authors: Jonathan Kipnis, Department of Neuroscience, University of Virginia Citation: 10.1038/ nchembio.212

Funding: National Institutes of Health

Anne Rueter | University of Michigan
Further information:
http://www.umich.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Closing the carbon loop
08.12.2016 | University of Pittsburgh

nachricht Newly discovered bacteria-binding protein in the intestine
08.12.2016 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Closing the carbon loop

08.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Applicability of dynamic facilitation theory to binary hard disk systems

08.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

Scientists track chemical and structural evolution of catalytic nanoparticles in 3-D

08.12.2016 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>