Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Finding paves way for better treatment of autoimmune disease

10.08.2006
A signaling molecule with an affinity for alcohol has yielded a rapid, inexpensive way to make large numbers of immune cells that work like beat cops to keep misguided cells from attacking the body.

The ability to easily make large numbers of these cells opens the door to improved treatment and a better understanding of autoimmune diseases such as type1 diabetes and arthritis, Medical College of Georgia researchers say.

T cells are components of the immune system designed to attack invaders such as bacteria and viruses; regulatory T cells are a small subset that prevents the cells from also attacking body tissue.

Research published in the August issue of Nature Methods shows that, given the option, phospholipase D, which typically mixes with water, prefers alcohol. It’s an apparently lethal choice for the signaling molecule that, in turn, also kills T cells that need phospholipase D to survive. Previously, it was unknown whether regulatory T cells required the molecule.

“What we have found is that if you block this enzyme, almost all T cells die after three days but the regulatory T cells can survive,” says Dr. Makio Iwashima, MCG immunologist and the study’s corresponding author. “After three days, we give them some food to grow and, in one week, you get about 90 percent pure regulatory cells.”

The approach worked with laboratory-grade alcohol, called butanol, as well as beverage-grade ethanol.

Normally, regulatory T cells constitute about 2-5 percent of all T cells, Dr. Iwashima says. Isolating them is doable but a long, expensive process.

When researchers gave some of the regulatory T cells to a mouse model of inflammatory bowel disease, the symptoms, including dramatic weight loss, went away. Animals showed no classic signs of inflammation, just a significant increase in regulatory cells.

MCG researchers have obtained funding from the Arthritis Foundation and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation to see if the cell therapy will work as well in animal models for arthritis and type 1diabetes.

“Our prediction and our hope is that we can restore balance,” says Dr. Iwashima. The usual 5- to 95-percent ratio of regulatory cells to non-regulatory T cells is lost in those with autoimmune disease, he says. However, too many regulatory cells also can be a problem, he says, noting that cancer patients have higher levels of regulatory cells.

Regulatory T cell therapy also resolved symptoms in a model of graft versus host disease, a problem for some bone marrow transplant patients when immune cells from the donor start attacking. This finding indicates a potential role for helping transplant patients keep new organs, the researchers say.

Dr. Iwashima has an Alcoholic Beverage Medical Research Foundation grant to pursue alcohol’s potential for helping isolate desirous regulatory cells. However, he cautions that his research findings are not a green light for patients with autoimmune disease to drink because of the negative health effects of regular alcohol consumption.

Dr. Iwashima and his colleagues believe the best way to optimize cell percentages is to do what the body does. In fact, they already are searching for an endogenous substance that interferes with phospholipase D.

“Ultimately, that is the most natural way, if we can find the compound in our bodies that can do the job,” Dr. Iwashima says. He theorizes that this natural substance helps destroy non-regulatory T cells when the body gets too many, say after fighting a big infection, and that it may not work well enough in people with autoimmune disease.

The research was supported by the National Institutes of Health.

Other contributors include lead author Dr. Nagendra Singh, postdoctoral fellow; Dr. Yoichi Seki, postdoctoral fellow; Maniko Takami, research assistant; Dr. Babak Babah, postdoctoral fellow; Dr. Phil R. Chandler, principal research scientist; Dr. Davood Khosravi, former postdoctoral fellow; Dr. Xiangjian Zheng, former graduate student; Mayuko Takezaki, research associate; Dr. Jeffrey R. Lee, associate professor; Dr. Andrew L. Mellor, director, MCG Immunotherapy Center; and Dr. Wendy B. Bollag, professor.

Toni Baker | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.mcg.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Researchers release the brakes on the immune system
18.10.2017 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

nachricht Norovirus evades immune system by hiding out in rare gut cells
12.10.2017 | University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

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: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Osaka university researchers make the slipperiest surfaces adhesive

18.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

Space radiation won't stop NASA's human exploration

18.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Los Alamos researchers and supercomputers help interpret the latest LIGO findings

18.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>