Scientists at the University of Michigan Medical School have discovered that a protein called cryopyrin responds to invading bacteria by triggering the activation of a powerful inflammatory molecule called IL-1beta, which signals the immune system to attack pathogens and induces fever to protect the body against infection.
The discovery could help scientists understand what causes autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis where the immune system attacks and destroys tissue in the patients body.
"IL-1beta is a master regulator of infection, and its known to be involved in the development of rheumatoid arthritis," says Gabriel Nunez, M.D., a professor of pathology in the U-M Medical School, who directed the research study. "So its likely that these findings will apply to other autoimmune diseases, as well."
Sally Pobojewski | EurekAlert!
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