Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


New insight into autoimmune disease: Bacterial infections promote recognition of self-glycolipids


The immune system is a complex and powerful weapon that provides protection against bacteria and viruses that, if left unchecked, would wreak havoc throughout the human body. The ability of the immune system to recognize the body’s own tissues is essential, but sometimes the immune system loses the ability to distinguish "self" from potentially harmful invaders. This can lead to autoimmune disease characterized by destruction of healthy tissues. Although it is not clear exactly what causes the immune system to go awry, there is increasing evidence that in some cases infections with viruses or bacteria may play a role. Now, a new study published in the June issue of Immunity provides evidence that bacterial infections induce a kind of self-recognition that may contribute to some autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS) and Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS).

There is evidence that the development of certain autoimmune diseases may be associated with a bacterial or viral infection that stimulates production of antibodies and immune cells called T cells, which are targeted against bacterial proteins that closely resemble "self" proteins, leading to crossreactivity with healthy tissues. Dr. Gennaro De Libero from University Hospital in Basel, Switzerland, and colleagues identified a different mechanism where bacterial infections promote activation of T cells that recognize molecules called glycosphingolipids (GSL) that are present in bacteria and humans. The researchers show that infection with some bacteria or even just exposure to pieces of the outer wall of the bacteria results in an increase in "self" GSL synthesis by cells that promote the immune response and subsequent stimulation of autoreactive GSL-specific T cells.

"Collectively, these findings suggest that recognition of self by infection is an important mechanism leading to autoreactive T cell activation and, possibly, participates in the pathogenesis of some autoimmune diseases, such as MS and GBS, in which the anti-GSL T cell response may be important," writes Dr. De Libero. The authors suggest that although the autoreactive T cells may play a useful role in promoting the immune response to infection, in the absence of infection the GSL autoreactive T cells might seek out the abundant "self" GSLs that can be found in the nervous system, resulting in degradation of brain and nerve tissue as is seen in patients with MS and GBS.

Heidi Hardman | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Make way for the mini flying machines
21.03.2018 | American Chemical Society

nachricht New 4-D printer could reshape the world we live in
21.03.2018 | American Chemical Society

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Researchers at Fraunhofer monitor re-entry of Chinese space station Tiangong-1

In just a few weeks from now, the Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere where it will to a large extent burn up. It is possible that some debris will reach the Earth's surface. Tiangong-1 is orbiting the Earth uncontrolled at a speed of approx. 29,000 km/h.Currently the prognosis relating to the time of impact currently lies within a window of several days. The scientists at Fraunhofer FHR have already been monitoring Tiangong-1 for a number of weeks with their TIRA system, one of the most powerful space observation radars in the world, with a view to supporting the German Space Situational Awareness Center and the ESA with their re-entry forecasts.

Following the loss of radio contact with Tiangong-1 in 2016 and due to the low orbital height, it is now inevitable that the Chinese space station will...

Im Focus: Alliance „OLED Licht Forum“ – Key partner for OLED lighting solutions

Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, provider of research and development services for OLED lighting solutions, announces the founding of the “OLED Licht Forum” and presents latest OLED design and lighting solutions during light+building, from March 18th – 23rd, 2018 in Frankfurt a.M./Germany, at booth no. F91 in Hall 4.0.

They are united in their passion for OLED (organic light emitting diodes) lighting with all of its unique facets and application possibilities. Thus experts in...

Im Focus: Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

Oceans formed before Tharsis and evolved together, shaping climate history of Mars

A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...

Im Focus: Tiny implants for cells are functional in vivo

For the first time, an interdisciplinary team from the University of Basel has succeeded in integrating artificial organelles into the cells of live zebrafish embryos. This innovative approach using artificial organelles as cellular implants offers new potential in treating a range of diseases, as the authors report in an article published in Nature Communications.

In the cells of higher organisms, organelles such as the nucleus or mitochondria perform a range of complex functions necessary for life. In the networks of...

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

TRAPPIST-1 planets provide clues to the nature of habitable worlds

21.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

The search for dark matter widens

21.03.2018 | Materials Sciences

Natural enemies reduce pesticide use

21.03.2018 | Life Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>