Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Immune system protein could explain pancreatitis

31.08.2012
There is now a clear target for the treatment of acute pancreatitis, according to researchers at Lund University in Sweden, who have discovered that a well-known protein plays a central role in the development of the disease. It is likely that the protein is also highly significant for other inflammatory diseases.

The research results have been published in the American journal Gastroenterology.

Excessive alcohol intake and gall stones are known risk factors for acute pancreatitis. However, as yet no explanation has been found for what actually happens in the body in cases of acute pancreatitis.

Current research shows that calcium-sensitive proteins found in the body, for example calcineurin, promote inflammation, but it is not known exactly how.

Henrik Thorlacius and Maria Gomez at the University’s Department of Clinical Sciences in Malmö have investigated this in more detail. The focus is on a family of proteins linked to calcineurin, called NFAT, the role of which in acute pancreatitis has not previously been studied.

“The protein has an unexpectedly major role in the development of inflammation in the pancreas. Now there is a clear target for the development of drugs and treatments”, says Henrik Thorlacius, Professor of Surgery at Lund University and a doctor at Skåne University Hospital.

In experiments on mice, the researchers found a number of links between NFAT and acute pancreatitis. NFAT, and especially the variant NFATc3, were found to regulate the activity of trypsinogen (a precursor form of the digestive enzyme trypsin), which can affect the risk of acute pancreatitis. The activation of NFATc3 was also found to encourage inflammation and tissue damage in the pancreas in various other ways.

“In our study, we saw that the aorta, spleen and lungs were also affected. The results therefore suggest that the NFAT protein plays a part in the development of inflammatory diseases on a more general level”, says Henrik Thorlacius.

The findings open up new opportunities for research on treatment and drugs, both for acute pancreatitis and for other acute inflammatory diseases, such as blood poisoning and inflammatory bowel disease.

“An effective drug needs to contain a substance that stops the activation of NFATc3 without producing serious side-effects”, says Professor Thorlacius.

The NFAT proteins function as transcription factors, which means that they can be bound to the body’s DNA and regulate the expression of specific genes in different cells. They have so far primarily been associated with immune cells.

Publication
Article title: ‘NFATc3 Regulates Trypsinogen Activation, Neutrophil Recruitment, and Tissue Damage in Acute Pancreatitis in Mice’

Published in: Gastroenterology

About acute pancreatitis
The pancreas forms various enzymes and hormones that are necessary for digestion and to keep sugar levels stable.

Pancreatitis can be either chronic or acute, and as yet no one has been able to explain the causes of the disease. High alcohol intake and gall stones are known risk factors.

Every year, one person in 1 000 in Sweden is affected by pancreatitis, corresponding to around 9 000 cases. Of these, 10–20 per cent fall seriously ill, with a risk of fatality. There are no effective drugs to treat the condition.

For more information
Henrik Thorlacius, Professor of Surgery at the Department of Clinical Sciences in Malmö, Lund University and doctor at Skåne University Hospital, +46 70 34 55 150, henrik.thorlacius@med.lu.se

Maria F. Gomez, Reader in Physiology at the Department of Clinical Sciences in Malmö, Lund University, +46 70 222 62 16, maria.gomez@med.lu.se

Helga Ekdahl Heun | idw
Further information:
http://www.lu.se

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Spanish scientists create a 3-D bioprinter to print human skin
24.01.2017 | Carlos III University of Madrid

nachricht Tracking movement of immune cells identifies key first steps in inflammatory arthritis
23.01.2017 | Massachusetts General Hospital

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Scientists spin artificial silk from whey protein

X-ray study throws light on key process for production

A Swedish-German team of researchers has cleared up a key process for the artificial production of silk. With the help of the intense X-rays from DESY's...

Im Focus: Quantum optical sensor for the first time tested in space – with a laser system from Berlin

For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.

According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Breaking the optical bandwidth record of stable pulsed lasers

24.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Choreographing the microRNA-target dance

24.01.2017 | Life Sciences

Spanish scientists create a 3-D bioprinter to print human skin

24.01.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>