“Our studies suggest a quartet of molecules may have potential diagnostic significance,” said Dr. Chandra Mohan, professor of internal medicine and senior author of a study available online at the Journal of Immunology. “Given that early intervention in lupus nephritis is associated with better treatment outcome, it is imperative that disease activity in the kidney be diagnosed as early as possible.”
Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks the body’s cells and tissues. In a normal immune system, foreign intruders are recognized by special immune cells that produce antibodies. In patients with lupus, however, the antibodies created start to attack the body itself. When the antibodies attack the kidneys, nephritis occurs, often shortening a patient’s life expectancy.
Dr. Mohan and colleagues screened urine from mice with lupus nephritis for the presence of four compounds – VCAM-1, P-selection, TNFR-1 and CXCL 16. Previous research had suggested that these molecules are elevated in animal models of antibody-mediated nephritis. Dr. Mohan and his research team determined that the mice harbored increased levels of all four molecules in the urine, particularly at the peak of their lupus-associated kidney disease.
The most reliable method now available for monitoring renal disease in lupus patients is to measure the level of protein excreted in urine. As part of their study, the researchers also tested the urine of lupus patients and found that they not only had high protein levels in their urine, but also elevated levels of all four compounds.
“It would be very beneficial to detect the presence of nephritis early in order to administer therapies to stop the immune system from destroying the kidney,” said Dr. Mohan. “There is an urgent need for a biomarker that one could potentially use to predict the onset of nephritis. That is what we’re trying to discover with this research.”
Dr. Mohan said further studies are in progress to ascertain if checking these molecule levels might be more effective than monitoring protein levels to predict kidney disease in lupus patients.
“The ability to detect these molecules in urine could potentially have tremendous impact on clinical diagnostics. Not only is urine a convenient body fluid to procure; in some clinical settings it may be the only fluid available,” he said.
Some of the compounds might play a critical role in deciphering potential drug targets for therapeutic intervention. Although more research is needed, blocking one or more of these molecules might offer relief to patients suffering from lupus nephritis, Dr. Mohan said.
In humans, lupus can cause life-threatening damage not only to the kidneys, but also to the lungs, heart, central nervous system, joints, blood vessels and skin. It can be associated with severe fatigue, joint pain, skin rashes, hair loss and neurological problems. Although treatable symptomatically, there is currently no cure for the disease, which affects up to 1 million people in the U.S.
Erin Prather Stafford | EurekAlert!
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