Every day, our gut comes in contact with bacteria, inducing a basal inflammatory response that is tolerated and highly controlled. However, in some cases the control of inflammation is lost and this can lead to inflammatory bowel disease that may predispose to colon cancer.
Caspase-1, an important protein involved in the mechanism of inflammation, has long been believed to be one of the culprits behind excessive inflammation in the colon. Dr. Maya Saleh, a researcher at the MUHC Research Institute, and her colleagues suggest the opposite in their new study.
The MUHC/McGill researchers have demonstrated that Caspase-1 plays a crucial role in inflammation regulation and intestinal tissue repair. But too much of any good thing can sometimes be bad. They also demonstrated that if Caspase-12--the protein that blocks Caspase-1--is absent, the inflammation mechanism caused by Caspase-1 goes out of control. Their findings, which were published in the journal Immunity, open the door to a greater understanding of and more targeted treatment strategy for preventing diseases linked to inflammation of the intestine as well as certain cancers.
This discovery is of major interest from the therapeutic point of view because many pharmaceutical companies have developed Caspase-1 inhibitors since the late 1990s with the goal of relieving the symptoms of colitis. However, Dr. Saleh’s team observed that inhibition or deletion of Caspase-1 was not protective and actually caused an intense inflammatory reaction that led to severe colitis.
“Caspase-1 is needed to maintain the intestinal barrier and to repair it if injured. It works by stimulating the cells that line the intestinal barrier to proliferate and fill the site of damage or ulcer. This barrier shields us from the bacteria that colonize our gut,” explains Dr. Saleh. “Without it, these bacteria invade to deeper tissues and trigger a persistent inflammation.”
According to Dr. Saleh, the absence of Caspase-12 leads to uncontrolled cell proliferation and higher risk of colorectal cancer. “If Caspase-1 is not eventually blocked, it could lead to appearance of tumours,” she says. “Our challenge at present is to further our research on the action of Caspases in the immune response and also to see whether they play a role in other types of cancer.”
Dr. Maya Saleh is a researcher in the Division of Intensive Care at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC), and an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Medicine, McGill University.About the Study
Julie Robert | MUHC
Antibiotic effective against drug-resistant bacteria in pediatric skin infections
17.02.2017 | University of California - San Diego
Tiny magnetic implant offers new drug delivery method
14.02.2017 | University of British Columbia
In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport
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”...
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...
Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...
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...
13.02.2017 | Event News
10.02.2017 | Event News
09.02.2017 | Event News
17.02.2017 | Medical Engineering
17.02.2017 | Medical Engineering
17.02.2017 | Health and Medicine