Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

UCLA study uses genetic profiling to distinguish types of leprosy

12.09.2003


New approach may provide new way to diagnose, classify and treat diseases



UCLA researchers found a distinction in the gene expression of leprosy that accurately classified two different clinical forms of the disease. This is one of the first studies of its kind where genetic profiling distinguished between disease types, possibly leading to new ways to diagnose and treat all types of diseases.

The new UCLA study, published Sept. 12 in the journal Science, also identified genes belonging to a specific family of cells in the immune system that may provide potent anti-inflammatory or immune suppressant properties. These findings offer more insight into the development of leprosy, as well as new approaches to treat diseases in which the immune system causes tissue damage.


"This study is an important milestone in the new science of using genetic profiling to uncover genes linked to responses that lead to disease progression," said principal investigator Dr. Robert L. Modlin, professor of dermatology and microbiology, immunology and molecular genetics and chief, division of dermatology, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. "The study also provides unanticipated insights into pathogens and targets for therapy."

According to Modlin, the future application of genetic profiling is especially interesting for infectious diseases such as leprosy or even a bioterrorist threat like anthrax.

"With genetic technology, we may be able to quickly distinguish between a common cold and early-stage anthrax, leading to earlier diagnosis and quicker treatment," he noted.

UCLA researchers biopsied 11 leprosy patients’ skin lesions, which is one of the first symptoms of the disease. Using sophisticated genetic technology and statistical methods, researchers compared expression patterns for the 12,000 genes found in the skin lesions. Researchers found that gene expressions differed for the two types of leprosy -- tuberculoid leprosy and lepromatous leprosy.

"If we can predict the clinical course of disease, we can intervene earlier," said Modlin. "This is very important for lepromatous leprosy, a more severe form of the disease that can lead to major nerve damage and disfigurement."

Researchers also found that the major difference between the gene expressions of the two types of leprosy occurred in a specific family of cells in the immune system called LIR or leukocyte immunoglobin-like receptors. Researchers found that a particular cell called LIR-7 was expressed five times more in the lepromatous lesions than in the tuberculoid lesions.

Further tests and genetic comparisons between the two lesion groups found that LIR-7 activation may actually suppress the immune system’s defenses. This may partly explain why some patients suffer from the more severe form of leprosy because these patients’ immune systems may be more compromised.

Researchers then used a tuberculosis bacteria sample to test whether LIR-7 activation would suppress the ability of the immune system to directly combat microbial pathogens. Researchers found that LIR-7 blocked the antimicrobial activity of another cell-surface receptor, called TLR or toll-like receptor. LIR-7 reduced TLR’s immune response activity from 60 percent to 20 percent.

"The immune suppression ability of LIR-7 offers us more insight into the development of infectious diseases like leprosy and also may offer future therapies for autoimmune diseases such as psoriasis or rheumatoid arthritis, where the goal is to turn off or suppress the immune system’s response," said Modlin.

According to Modlin, the next stage of the genetic research will look at leprosy’s various complications, including tissue damage and nerve damage, and try to identify which patients are susceptible to these complications.

Leprosy, one of the world’s oldest known diseases, is a chronic infectious disease. In 2003, more than 630,000 new cases of leprosy affected people worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. Leprosy continues to be an ongoing issue in developing countries.

Leprosy is caused by the bacterium "Mycobacterium leprae," and affects the skin, peripheral nerves, upper respiratory tract and eyes, and can lead to severe disfigurement of the hands, face and feet. It is uncertain how leprosy is spread, and current treatment includes a multi-drug regimen.



The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health and the World Health Organization.

Other researchers include Joshua R. Bieharski, Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics and Division of Dermatology, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles; Huiying Li, Thomas G. Graeber and David Eisenberg, Departments of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Biological Chemistry, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, UCLA -- Department of Energy Institute of Genomics and Proteomics, UCLA, Los Angeles; Christoph Meinken, Martin Rollinghoff and Steffen Stenger, Institut fur Klinische Mikrobiologie, Immunologie, und Hygiene, Universitat Erlangen, Erlangen, Germany; Maria-Teresa Ochoa, Division of Dermatology, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles; Masahiro Yamamura, Graduate School of Medicine and Dentistry, Okayama University, Okayama, Japan; Anne Burdick, Department of Dermatology and Cutaneous Surgery, University of Miami, Miami, Fla.; Euzenir N. Sarno, Leprosy Laboratory Institute Oswaldo Cruz, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Manfred Wagner and Thomas H. Rea, Medizinische Kllnik 3, Kllnikum Nurnberg, Nurnberg, Germany; Marco Colonna, Department of Pathology and Immunology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Mo.; Barry R. Bloom, Office of the Dean, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Mass.

Rachel Champeau | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ucla.edu/

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Biofilm discovery suggests new way to prevent dangerous infections
23.05.2017 | University of Texas at Austin

nachricht Another reason to exercise: Burning bone fat -- a key to better bone health
19.05.2017 | University of North Carolina Health Care

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 the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

First Juno science results supported by University of Leicester's Jupiter 'forecast'

26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>