Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers Identify Gatekeeper Involved in Chronic Inflammatory Diseases

24.08.2006
The road to many an inflammatory disease is guarded by a cytokine messenger protein called interleukin-27, according to researchers from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. Chronic inflammation results when the immune system becomes over stimulated and begins attacking healthy tissue in excess. The Penn researchers found that IL-27 inhibits the immune system cells that are responsible for an array of inflammatory-related diseases, including encephalitis, arthritis, Crohns disease, lupus and even sepsis.

The findings, which appear online at Nature Immunology, determine that IL-27 may be a useful target for treating a number of such autoimmune diseases. Restoring or augmenting the abilities of IL-27 may be enough to halt inflammation.

"There are many immune-mediated diseases with many different causes, but the type of cells that IL-27 inhibits are a major part of the pathway of cellular signals that lead to inflammation," said Christopher Hunter, professor in Penn Vet's Department of Pathobiology. "Our findings indicate that IL-27 is a prominent factor that helps keep the immune system under control."

In previous studies, the researchers found that the IL-27 cytokine limits the duration and intensity of white blood activation, an "off switch" to the cascade of messenger proteins that serve to further activate the immune system. Prior to their research, the general assumption among scientists was that IL-27 promoted inflammation.

To understand the role of IL-27 in chronic inflammation, Hunter and his colleagues at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research in Melbourne, Amgen and the NIH studied mice engineered to lack the receptor that enables IL-27 to function in normal mice. When infected with the parasite Toxoplasma gondii, which causes toxoplasmosis, the mice developed severe brain inflammation that was caused by helper T cells, a type of white blood cell that activates and directs portions of the immune system. Without the ability of IL-27 to regulate the immune system, however, the response to the infection in the brain goes out of control.

Hunter and his colleagues determined that IL-27 targets a novel subset of helper T cells, called helper T-17 cells, which previous studies from the DNAX research group in California have implicated in autoimmune disease. In healthy immune systems, inflammation is an important part of the response to infection. According to Jason Stumhofer, a post-doctoral researcher at Penn Vet and lead author of this study, the experiment illustrates a common disease scenario in which a normal functioning part of the immune system continues to perform its task without regulation.

Without IL-27, other brakes in the system are not sufficient to keep inflammation in check, Stumhofer said. The more we understand the role of cytokines in the immune system, the more we realize that they are part of an elaborately balanced system kept in check by the conflicting regulatory functions of the cytokines themselves.

The findings open up the possibility that strategies that augment the effectiveness of IL-27 can be used therapeutically in these tissue specific pathologies. Perhaps the best route might be through using p28, a small active portion of the IL-27 molecule discovered by the researchers.

"It may be possible to use IL-27 or its active subunit in such a way that we can temper the immune system without suppressing the beneficial immune reactions," Hunter said.

Funding for this research was provided by the National Institutes of Health.

Greg Lester | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.upenn.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: 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...

Im Focus: Using graphene to create quantum bits

In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.

In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...

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

Physicists discover mechanism behind granular capillary effect

24.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Measured for the first time: Direction of light waves changed by quantum effect

24.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

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

24.05.2017 | Event News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>