Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Scientists shed new light on link between 'killer cells' and diabetes

16.01.2012
Killer T-cells in the human body which help protect us from disease can inadvertently destroy cells that produce insulin, new research has uncovered.

The study provides the first evidence of this mechanism in action and could offer new understanding of the cause of Type 1 diabetes.

Professor Andy Sewell, an expert in human T-cells from Cardiff University's School of Medicine worked alongside diabetes experts from King's College London to better understand the role of T-cells in the development of Type 1 diabetes.

The team isolated a T-cell from a patient with Type 1 diabetes to view a unique molecular interaction which results in the killing of insulin-producing cells in the pancreas.

"Type 1 diabetes is a result of the body's own immune system attacking and destroying the cells in the pancreas that manufacture the hormone insulin. Insulin controls blood sugar levels and a lack of insulin is fatal if untreated," said Professor Sewell.

"The mechanism by which the body attacks its own insulin producing cells in the pancreas is not fully understood. Our findings show how killer T-cells might play an important role in autoimmune diseases like diabetes and we've secured the first ever glimpse of the mechanism by which killer T-cells can attack our own body cells to cause disease," he added.

Co-author of the study, Professor Mark Peakman from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Centre at King's College London and Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust said: "This first sight of how killer T-cells make contact with the cells that make insulin is very enlightening, and increases our understanding of how Type 1 diabetes may arise.

"This knowledge will be used in the future to help us predict who might get the disease and also to develop new approaches to prevent it. Our aim is to catch the disease early before too many insulin-producing cells have been damaged."

The team now hope that by gaining a better understanding of this process it will put them in a much stronger position to devise new ways to prevent or even halt the disease.

The study, funded by the UK Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) using facilities at Diamond Light Source and published in Nature Immunology, shows that the killer T-cell receptor utilises an abnormal mode of binding in order to recognise cells producing insulin.

"The results of Dr Sewell's work provide key novel insights into T1D pathogenesis" said Teodora Staeva, Director of JDRF's Immune Therapies Program. "JDRF is pleased to support this kind of research that will accelerate the development of biomarkers and preventive therapies for Type 1 diabetes."

This unusual binding is thought to allow the T-cell to survive the culling process designed to rid the body of autoreactive T-cells.

The structure of the killer T-cell receptor bound to the insulin peptide shows that the interaction is highly focused on just a small part of the molecule.

In a further study published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry the same Cardiff and King's team has shown that this focused binding mode allows this T-cell receptor to respond to over 1.3 million other peptides of different molecular shape.

This ability to bind peptides with a multitude of different shapes may provide a clue as to how autoimmune diseases are initiated. It is possible that this T-cell was raised to fight an infection via one of the other 1.3 million peptides it can recognise but then inadvertently also recognised insulin once it had been put on 'red alert' by this infection.

Diabetes describes diseases where a person has high blood sugar. Treatment of diabetes and its complications represents a major health burden and accounts for over 10% of the National Health Service's annual budget.

Andy Sewell | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.cardiff.ac.uk

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht New risk factors for anxiety disorders
24.02.2017 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

nachricht Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers
24.02.2017 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

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

Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

New risk factors for anxiety disorders

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

MWC 2017: 5G Capital Berlin

24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>