Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Cytokine Signal Shuts Down Hyperactive T Cells; "Off Switch" Could Halt Inflammation And Autoimmunity

26.11.2003


Liver cells undergoing an autoimmune attack
Credit: Alejandro Villarino, University of Pennsylvania.


Since their discovery, cytokines have provided biomedical researchers with a tangled web of immune-system pathways to unknot. While most known cytokines have a role in stimulating immunity, one cytokine, IL-27, may actually suppress CD4 T cells, the helper T cells that orchestrate the immune system response to infections, according to researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine.

Their findings could provide researchers with a way to clamp down on dozens of autoimmune conditions caused by an overzealous immune system, such as Crohn disease, lupus or even sepsis. Their research is the cover article for the November issue of the journal Immunity.

"When the immune system is activated there is a cascade of cytokine interactions that regulate the growth and functions of an array of immune cells," said Christopher Hunter, an associate professor in Penn Department of Pathobiology and senior author of the paper. "Contrary to previous studies, the IL-27 cytokine actually limits the duration and intensity of T cell activation, an ’off switch’ as it were."



To gauge the function of IL-27, Hunter and his colleagues used mice that lack the cytokine receptor, a protein called WSX-1. Without WSX-1, IL-27 lacked a target a button to press and the researchers were able to determine how the immune system worked without this particular cytokine.

When the animal models were challenged with a toxoplasma infection, their immune systems were able to fight off the parasite but their immune response continued well after the parasites were controlled. Instead, the researchers found a surplus of activated T cells and increasing amounts of interferon gamma, a cytokine that activates antigen-presenting cells and other parts of the immune system.

These results differed from previous studies that showed IL-27 to be among the many cytokines involved in T cell differentiation and growth. Despite its similarity to other T cell-promoting cytokines, IL-27 and its receptor may be an important part of the regulation of the immune system.

According to the researchers, the identification of the role of IL-27 and its receptor has obvious clinical implications for autoimmune disorders involving T cell mediated inflammatory responses. Autoimmune diseases, while varying in severity, result as immune cells primed and activated begin destroying native cells as well as those of pathogens.

"There are many immune-mediated diseases with many different causes, but this particular pathway may represent a universal checkpoint for the immune system," Hunter said. "It may be possible to create drugs that turn the immune system off without actually suppressing the beneficial immune reactions."

Funding for this research was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health.

Other Penn scientists involved in this study were Alejandro Villarino, Linda Lieberman and Emma Wilson. Linda Hibbert and Robert Kastelein of DNAX Research Institute, Tak Mak of the University of Toronto, Hiroki Yoshida of Kyushu University and Christiaan Saris of Amgen Inc. also contributed to the Immunity paper.

Greg Lester | University of Pennsylvania
Further information:
http://www.upenn.edu/pennnews/article.php?id=563

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht A novel socio-ecological approach helps identifying suitable wolf habitats
17.02.2017 | Universität Zürich

nachricht New, ultra-flexible probes form reliable, scar-free integration with the brain
16.02.2017 | University of Texas at Austin

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Switched-on DNA

20.02.2017 | Materials Sciences

Second cause of hidden hearing loss identified

20.02.2017 | Health and Medicine

Prospect for more effective treatment of nerve pain

20.02.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>