Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

How "good cholesterol" stops inflammation

09.12.2013
High-density lipoprotein (HDL), known colloquially as "good cholesterol", protects against dangerous deposits in the arteries.

An important function of HDL is its anti-inflammatory properties. An international research team at the Institute of Innate Immunity at the University Hospital of Bonn and the LIMES Institute at the University of Bonn has identified a central switch by which HDL controls the inflammatory response. The results are presented in the current issue of "Nature Immunology".

High cholesterol levels are seen as a cause of dangerous deposits in the bloodstream, which lead to hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis). As a consequence, thrombosis, strokes, and heart attacks can develop, which are among the leading causes of death in Western society. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is commonly referred to as the "bad cholesterol", because it promotes atherosclerosis. In contrast, the "good cholesterol", high-density lipoprotein (HDL), helps transport excess cholesterol out of the bloodstream and can counteract an inflammatory reaction in damaged vessel walls.

"It has long been known that HDL has a protective function in cardiovascular diseases that are based on atherosclerosis", reports Prof. Eicke Latz, Director of the Institute of Innate Immunity at the University of Bonn and who is further affiliated with the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) and the University of Massachusetts Medical School in the USA. "The molecular causes to which this protective effect of HDL can be attributed were unclear until now". For instance, studies had shown that therapies that simply increase HDL levels in the blood of patients are not sufficient to reduce the incidence of atherosclerosis. HDL has anti-inflammatory effects on immune cells – however the mechanisms have remained unclear until now. The research group has now investigated how HDL acts upon inflammatory processes.

Bioinformatics approach revealed a candidate gene

Principle investigators Dr. Dominic De Nardo and Larisa I. Labzin are both Australians currently training in the lab of Prof. Eicke Latz. In collaboration with other working groups of the University of Bonn, an international research team from Japan, Australia, China, the USA, and Germany has identified how HDL acts to prevent chronic inflammation. In a very extensive study over a period of about three years, the group performed experiments in human and mouse cells, to determine which genes are regulated by high HDL levels. "At first, we were really just feeling around in the dark", reports Prof. Latz. Close cooperation with the working group of Prof. Joachim L. Schultze of the Life and Medical Sciences (LIMES) Institute of the University of Bonn finally got the scientists on the right track. "With the aid of genomic and bioinformatics approaches, we were able to filter out a candidate gene from the wealth of regulated genes", adds Prof. Schultze.

This gene is found in phagocytes, which act in the body like police on the beat and, as part of the innate immune defense system, arrest intruders. These patrolmen are supported by a kind of "criminal file", the so-called Toll-like receptors (TLR). With their help, the phagocytes can distinguish between "good" and "bad". If it is a dangerous intruder, the TLR can also trigger the release of inflammatory substances via biochemical signaling pathways. The transcriptional regulator, ATF3, plays a key role in this process. "It reduces the transcription of the inflammatory genes and prevents further stimulation of inflammatory processes via the Toll-like receptors", explains Dr. Dominic De Nardo.

Sustained inflammatory reactions can lead to organ failure

The immune system uses inflammatory processes to keep pathogens in check, to detect damaged tissue, and then repair it. In sustained inflammatory reactions, however, there are dangerous consequences –including blood poisoning or organ failure. "The transcriptional regulator ATF3 acts to reduce these inflammatory reactions by suppressing the activation of inflammatory genes following excessive stimulation of immunoreceptors", reports Dr. De Nardo. In the end, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) is responsible for down regulating the inflammatory reactions, via the activation of ATF3. "To put it simply, high HDL levels in blood are an important protective factor against sustained inflammation", summarizes Prof. Latz.

"Our studies also indicate that the amount of HDL in blood alone is not decisive for the protective function of HDL, but that the anti-inflammatory function is probably more important. These results also suggest a molecular approach for treating inflammation in other widespread diseases, such as diabetes", sums up Prof. Latz .

Publication: High-density lipoprotein mediates anti-inflammatory reprogramming of macrophages via the transcriptional regulator ATF3, Nature Immunology, DOI: 10.1038/ni.2784

Contact:

Prof. Dr. Eicke Latz
Institute of Innate Immunity
University Hospital, University of Bonn
Tel. ++49-228-28751223
E-Mail: eicke.latz@uni-bonn.de

Johannes Seiler | idw
Further information:
http://www.uni-bonn.de

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht One gene closer to regenerative therapy for muscular disorders
01.06.2017 | Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center

nachricht The gut microbiota plays a key role in treatment with classic diabetes medication
01.06.2017 | University of Gothenburg

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: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Individualized fiber components for the world market

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

How brains surrender to sleep

23.06.2017 | Life Sciences

Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>