Hereditary haemochromatosis (HH) is a disease characterised by excessive absorbance and storage of iron in the body, which results from a mutation in HFE, a gene involved in iron regulation. In addition, HH patients have an abnormal immune system (IS), and it has been suggested that the IS is also involved in HH iron deregulation. And now, research by a team of Portuguese scientists about to be published on the 1st of August issue of the journal Blood, shows, that the HFE gene seems to be involved, not only in iron regulation, but also in the immune response. The discovery not only helps to understand better the mechanism behind the disease, but proves, for the first time, the existence of a molecular link between iron homeostasis and the IS, suggesting what a few scientists have proposed before - that the IS might be involved in more functions in the body beside the fight against infection.
Hereditary hemochromatosis is the most common genetic illness among people of North European ancestry where it affects as many as 1 in 200-300 individuals. The disease results in excessive storage of iron in the body tissues leading to damage, and if not treated, organ failure and even death. Symptoms vary from mild to life-threatening heart and liver disease, arthritis or even diabetes mellitus depending on the damaged organ.
An interesting characteristic of the disease is that individuals with the same HFE mutations can, nevertheless, present a large range of disease severities, what shows that other factors, beside HFE, seem to be involved in disease outcome. And in fact HH patients are also immuno-suppressed presenting, among other problems, low numbers of specific subsets of white blood cell, the IS “responders” against intruders. Research seems to indicate that these immunological problems are involved, together with the mutated HFE gene, in the excessive absorbance and storage of iron observed in HH although the reason behind such deficiencies is unknown
Catarina Amorim | alfa
Ambush in a petri dish
24.11.2017 | Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena
Meadows beat out shrubs when it comes to storing carbon
23.11.2017 | Norwegian University of Science and Technology
High-precision measurement of the g-factor eleven times more precise than before / Results indicate a strong similarity between protons and antiprotons
The magnetic moment of an individual proton is inconceivably small, but can still be quantified. The basis for undertaking this measurement was laid over ten...
Heat from the friction of rocks caused by tidal forces could be the “engine” for the hydrothermal activity on Saturn's moon Enceladus. This presupposes that...
The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.
Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....
The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.
Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...
Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.
That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...
15.11.2017 | Event News
15.11.2017 | Event News
30.10.2017 | Event News
24.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.11.2017 | Health and Medicine
24.11.2017 | Earth Sciences