Certain cells from a mother persist in their children’s bodies and can provoke an immune response in which the child’s body attacks itself, according to Mayo Clinic research published in the current issue of the Journal of Immunology (http://www.jimmunol.org). The findings are important not only in seeking the cause and treatments of this disease, but also in understanding an entire class of autoimmune disorders.
Juvenile dermatomyositis (der-mat-o-my-o-SITE-us), or JDM, is a rare muscle-damaging condition that causes a child’s immune system to attack the body, as if it were an invading life form. Muscles deteriorate and the child becomes weak and fragile. There is no cure for JDM. Current treatments include medication, physical therapy and added nutrition.
“The key aspect of our study suggests a mechanism for the disease, and deepens our understanding of autoimmune disorders in general,” says pediatrician and lead investigator Ann Reed, M.D. “And because we studied a larger population of JDM patients and control groups than has ever been studied, we can feel confident in our results.”
Researchers have known for years that fetal cells can be found in women several years after giving birth. They have thought these may contribute to the development of autoimmune diseases in women during and after their childbearing years. In the current study, the Mayo Clinic group looked at the opposite situation: persistence of maternal cells in children.
In the Mayo Clinic study, 83 percent of JDM patients had cells from their mother. This compares to 23 percent of their unaffected siblings who had maternal cells, and 17 percent of healthy children who had maternal cells in their blood. The presence of this maternal (also called “chimeric”) cell is strongly associated with a particular genetic makeup of the mother. Children with JDM may suffer organ failure in the same way transplant patients often do. Because of this resemblance to a type of organ rejection disease, the Mayo Clinic team investigated the idea that “non-self” or chemeric cells may play a role in initiating JDM.
The Mayo Clinic researchers discovered two new aspects of chimeric cells. First, they remain in the offspring after birth and are related to the HLA genes, and second, chimeric cells are not merely present in the children — but they are active, as shown by the attacks they mount against the child’s body.
JDM causes inflammation of the blood vessels under the muscle and skin. This results in muscle damage, as well as in tissue changes of skin over the eyelids, finger joints and knuckles. Symptoms appear gradually and include: muscle pain and tenderness; difficulty swallowing, which results in weight loss; irritability; fatigue; fever; rash around the eyelids, finger joints, knuckles, elbows, ankles or knees.
Diagnosis may involve blood tests to detect muscle enzymes and markers of inflammation; an electromyography (EMG) to assess nerve or muscle damage; muscle biopsy for examination; X-rays; and MRI. Current treatments include medications to reduce inflammation and skin rashes; physical and occupational therapy to improve muscle function; and nutritional support.
[Reed, A.M., McNallan, K., Wettstein, P., Vehe, R., and Ober, C. (2004). Does HLA-dependent chimerism underlie the pathogenesis of juvenile dermatomyositis? J. Immunol. 172, 5041-5046.]
Penn vet research identifies new target for taming Ebola
12.01.2017 | University of Pennsylvania
The strange double life of Dab2
10.01.2017 | University of Miami Miller School of Medicine
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).
Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...
Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.
The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
05.01.2017 | Event News
17.01.2017 | Earth Sciences
17.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
17.01.2017 | Architecture and Construction