A "genetic accelerator" is responsible for the most severe cases of Lupus (systemic lupus erythemathosus), an autoimmune disease: the accelerator, called enhancer HS1.2, speeds up the activity of some critical genes of the immune system involved in the disease.
A team of Italian researchers at the Catholic University of Sacred Heart in Rome found that the enhancer HS1.2 is like the accelerator of the car and boosts the pathological immune response typical of the disease by enhancing the production of the pathological antibodies that attack the patient's body instead of defending it (autoantibodies).
Professor Gianfranco Ferraccioli, Head of the Rheumatology Unit of Rheumatology and Internal Medicine of the Catholic University led the research in collaboration with Professor Domenico Frezza at Tor Vergata University of Rome and Professor Raffaella Scorza at University of Milan and they published their results in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.
The discovery could lead to more targeted and effective therapies against this complex disease, in particular against the most severe cases, Professor Ferraccioli explained.
Systemic lupus erythematosus is an autoimmune disease, that is a condition in which the patient's immune system goes haywire and begins to attack the body rather than defend it. Lupus affects about 60,000 people in Italy, with a major prevalence among females. Lupus affects so several different organs and tissues and causes a variety of symptoms, including joint pain, fever, skin rashes, hair loss, Raynaud's disease, anemia, nephritis.
The therapies currently used are based on cortisone, anti-malarial drugs and immunosuppressants (azathioprine, mycophenolate, cyclophosphamide) and biologic drugs (rituximab, Belimumab).
But in many cases Lupus is more aggressive and so far the origin of this particular severity was quite unclear.
Italian researchers discovered that the cause of the most severe cases is the accelerator HS1.2 enhancer. Enhancers are DNA sequences that accelerate the activation of neighboring genes and enhance their functioning, hence the name.
HS1.2 leads to enhanced activation of the "transcription factor NF-KB" (a transcription factor is a molecule that "reads" the genes to make them work), which in turn dramatically increases the aggressiveness of the inflammatory processes underlying the disease.
Italian researchers have discovered that over 30 per cent of the patients has the enhancer HS1.2 in their Dna and that it causes a more severe form of Lupus.
The researchers reached this finding after demonstrating that the enhancer HS1.2 promotes also other autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and identified how the enhancer causes increased susceptibility to autoimmune diseases.
"Our results suggest that new drugs that turn off the enhancer HS1.2, or inhibit its effect on NF-KB, can stop the disease without the need for immunosuppressive drugs or other therapies with many side effects," Ferraccioli said. "Moreover the discovery of the role of this enhancer allows us to better classify patients and formulate a precise prognosis for each one moving toward more personalized care."
Gianfranco Ferraccioli | EurekAlert!
Observing the cell's protein factories during self-assembly
15.06.2018 | Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin
Scientists unravel molecular mechanisms of Parkinson's disease
13.06.2018 | The Francis Crick Institute
Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.
Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...
The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.
Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.
An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.
Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...
Light detection and control lies at the heart of many modern device applications, such as smartphone cameras. Using graphene as a light-sensitive material for...
Water molecules exist in two different forms with almost identical physical properties. For the first time, researchers have succeeded in separating the two forms to show that they can exhibit different chemical reactivities. These results were reported by researchers from the University of Basel and their colleagues in Hamburg in the scientific journal Nature Communications.
From a chemical perspective, water is a molecule in which a single oxygen atom is linked to two hydrogen atoms. It is less well known that water exists in two...
13.06.2018 | Event News
08.06.2018 | Event News
05.06.2018 | Event News
18.06.2018 | Earth Sciences
18.06.2018 | Process Engineering
18.06.2018 | Life Sciences