The researchers analysed thousands of genes in T cells, critical players of the immune system required for control of HBV. They found that T cells from patients who were chronically infected were triggered to ‘commit suicide’. This could be an important factor in determining why these patients’ immune systems cannot fight the infection, and a process which could be a useful target for new treatments. Their findings are published today in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) is one of the most common viruses in the world, and ranks as one of the top ten killer infectious diseases. More than 350 million people have long-term infection with HBV, which may lead to liver cirrhosis, liver failure or liver cancer. In the majority of adults infected, the immune system is able to control the virus very well and is, in fact, more effective than any currently available treatment. Understanding what goes wrong in people with chronic infection is crucial to the development of new therapies.
Lead author, Dr Mala Maini, UCL Division of Infection & Immunity, said: “We used microarray gene chips to screen more than 5,000 genes in T cells from both recovered and chronically infected Hepatitis B patients. This led to the discovery that, instead of successfully reacting to the virus, the T cells in the latter group were triggered to commit suicide by one of the cells’ own death-inducing proteins, called ‘Bim’. We are now looking into the fine mechanism driving this outcome.”
The paper’s first author, Ross Lopes, added: “If we can develop safe ways of blocking the suicidal tendency of the T cells, we may be able to prolong their survival, so they can do a better job of controlling Hepatitis B infection.”
The proportion of the world's population currently infected with HBV is estimated at between 3 and 6 per cent, but up to a third have been exposed. It is endemic in parts of Asia and Africa. Chronic Hepatitis B may eventually cause liver cirrhosis and liver cancer, a fatal disease with very poor response to current treatments. The infection is preventable by vaccination at a young age.
Ruth Metcalfe | alfa
Organ-on-a-chip mimics heart's biomechanical properties
23.02.2017 | Vanderbilt University
Researchers identify cause of hereditary skeletal muscle disorder
22.02.2017 | Klinikum der Universität München
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
23.02.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
23.02.2017 | Earth Sciences
23.02.2017 | Life Sciences