Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Study identifies novel role for a protein that could lead to new treatments for rheumatoid arthritis

23.05.2011
A new study by rheumatologists at Hospital for Special Surgery in New York has shown that a powerful pro-inflammatory protein, tumor necrosis factor (TNF), can also suppress aspects of inflammation.

The researchers say the identification of the mechanism of how this occurs could potentially lead to new treatments for diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. The study was published May 22 online in advance of publication in the journal Nature Immunology.

"Prior to this study, TNF has long been known as a potent pro-inflammatory cytokine, but if you look carefully through the literature, there are hints that it also has some suppressive functions, but nothing was known about the mechanisms," said Lionel Ivashkiv, M.D., associate chief scientific officer and physician in the Arthritis and Tissue Degeneration Program at Hospital for Special Surgery who led the study. "This is really the first mechanism showing how TNF can turn inflammation down."

Because many proteins have homeostatic functions, both driving and suppressing certain actions so a cell can maintain internal equilibrium, researchers thought TNF might not be an exception. "Most strong activators in the immune system trigger a feedback response to restrain the amount of inflammation," Dr. Ivashkiv said.

To find out, researchers designed experiments stimulating macrophages with lipopolysaccharide (LPS), a prototypical inflammatory factor that stimulates receptors important in inflammation. In test tube studies, the researchers treated human monocytes and macrophages, cells that have a key role in inflammatory diseases, with TNF and then challenged these cells with LPS. They found that the TNF suppressed the inflammatory response of the macrophages and monocytes. They then gave mice low doses of TNF followed by high doses of LPS and found that the mice were protected from the effects of high dose LPS, which is usually lethal. They discovered that the mechanism by which TNF suppressed the inflammatory response involved a protein known as GSK3 (glycogen synthase kinase 3-alpha) and a gene known as TNFAIP3 that encodes the A20 protein. Experiments with a drug that can inhibit GSK3 as well as experiments with RNA interference of A20, which can block A20 gene function, helped identify the roles of this protein and gene.

The researchers say the findings could be used to develop potential therapies for diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis. "We think it is relevant to rheumatoid arthritis, not only because the cells we are studying (the macrophages) are exactly the same cells that migrate into joints and make the inflammatory cytokines involved in rheumatoid arthritis, but because A20 is involved. TNFAIP3 is one of the best linked genes to rheumatoid arthritis," Dr. Ivashkiv said. "There are polymorphisms in the A20 gene that have been linked to RA pathogenesis."

The researchers hypothesize that patients who make less A20 are more susceptible to inflammation and thus rheumatoid arthritis. One approach to treating RA could be to increase A20 levels in patients who naturally make less A20 by manipulating GSK-3, since this study showed that GSK-3 influences A20. "The study sort of opens a line of investigation to understanding how A20 levels can be manipulated in patients with various diseases," Dr. Ivashkiv said.

The findings could be applied to other diseases besides arthritis. In conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, you may want to boost A20, but in other settings such as cancer, where the macrophages are suppressed, you may want to inhibit A20 expression.

"What the study shows that is new is that TNF has suppressive functions in addition to its well-known activating functions," Dr. Ivashkiv said. "Before this study, people thought it might suppress adaptive immunity, but surprisingly we found that it actually suppresses a cell of the innate immune system, the macrophage, which is the same cell that makes it and, by doing that, it regulates its own production."

Other Hospital for Special Surgery scientists involved in the study include Sung Ho Park, Kyung-Hyun Park-Min, M.D.; Janice Chen, and Xiaoyu Hu, M.D., Ph.D.

About Hospital for Special Surgery

Founded in 1863, Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) is a world leader in orthopedics, rheumatology and rehabilitation. HSS is nationally ranked No. 1 in orthopedics, No. 3 in rheumatology, No. 16 in neurology and No. 18 in geriatrics by U.S. News & World Report (2010-11), and has received Magnet Recognition for Excellence in Nursing Service from the American Nurses Credentialing Center, and has one of the lowest infection rates in the country. From 2007 to 2011, HSS has been a recipient of the HealthGrades Joint Replacement Excellence Award. A member of the NewYork-Presbyterian Healthcare System and an affiliate of Weill Cornell Medical College, HSS provides orthopedic and rheumatologic patient care at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital at New York Weill Cornell Medical Center. All Hospital for Special Surgery medical staff are on the faculty of Weill Cornell Medical College. The hospital's research division is internationally recognized as a leader in the investigation of musculoskeletal and autoimmune diseases. Hospital for Special Surgery is located in New York City and online at http://www.hss.edu/.

For more information contact:
Phyllis Fisher
212-606-1197
FisherP@hss.edu
Tracy Hickenbottom
212-606-1197
HickenbottomT@hss.edu

Phyllis Fisher | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.hss.edu/

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Tracking movement of immune cells identifies key first steps in inflammatory arthritis
23.01.2017 | Massachusetts General Hospital

nachricht Team discovers how bacteria exploit a chink in the body's armor
20.01.2017 | University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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: Quantum optical sensor for the first time tested in space – with a laser system from Berlin

For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.

According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

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...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

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...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Tracking movement of immune cells identifies key first steps in inflammatory arthritis

23.01.2017 | Health and Medicine

Electrocatalysis can advance green transition

23.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

New technology for mass-production of complex molded composite components

23.01.2017 | Process Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>