Published in the journal PLoS Computational Biology, the study builds on data analyses of freely available medical databases representing studies of countless numbers of patients in the PubMed database, and microarray data in another major database. The use of microarrays is a method that allows scientists to study all 20,000 human genes at the same time for various disorders.
Groups of researchers in Gothenburg, Oslo and Rome have developed computational methods to simulate how a change in the interaction between several different genes in the lymphocytes (a kind of white blood cell) controls the immune system. They identified the genes by reviewing abstracts of all 18 million articles included in PubMed, and then constructed a network model of how these genes interact.
“The model can be compared to a printed circuit card in the lymphocyte which the cell uses to make decisions about whether to activate or suppress the immune system,” says Mikael Benson, a researcher at the Sahlgrenska Academy’s Unit for Clinical Systems Biology and consultant at the Queen Silvia Children’s Hospital. “These decisions are made constantly as the lymphocytes are constantly exposed to different particles, just through breathing for example. Some of the particles could be dangerous and need to trigger a decision to mobilise the immune system. However, sometimes wrong decisions are made, which can lead to various disorders such as allergy or diabetes.”
The researchers then carried out data simulations of how the network model reacted to repeated exposure to particles, which resulted in four reaction patterns, one of which was to suppress the immune system, while the other three were to trigger it in various ways.
“We found that the genes in the model reacted in lymphocytes from patients with various immunological disorders. We’ll be using the model to identify diagnostic markers so that we can personalise medication that we’re testing in clinical studies of allergy patients.”
Benson believes that these methods will become increasingly important in the future, as the huge amount of information in medical databases is growing all the time. This information could serve as an important resource for researchers in their endeavours to investigate and verify medical hypotheses.
“These methods could reduce the need for animal trials and lead to major savings in both time and money,” says Benson. “They could also mean quicker and better-designed experiments and their results could generate new knowledge about diagnostic markers or new medicines.”
The study comes under two EU projects, ComplexDis and MultiMod, both of which are led from the Sahlgrenska Academy. http://www.multimod-project.eu/index.htmlFor more information, please contact:
Authors: Marco Pedicini Fredrik Barrenäs, Trevor Clancy, Filippo Castiglione, Eivind Hovig, Kartiek Kanduri, Daniele Santoni, Mikael Benson
Study suggests possible new target for treating and preventing Alzheimer's
02.12.2016 | Oregon Health & Science University
The first analysis of Ewing's sarcoma methyloma opens doors to new treatments
01.12.2016 | IDIBELL-Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water
In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...
The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering
02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science
02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy