Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New trigger for chronic inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis discovered

30.06.2009
A signal molecule made by the human body that triggers the immune system into action may be important in rheumatoid arthritis, according to new research published today in Nature Medicine. The authors of the study, from Imperial College London, say that if scientists could block this signal, it may be possible to develop more effective arthritis treatments.

Rheumatoid arthritis is the most common autoimmune disease, affecting around 1 in 100 people. It causes painful and persistent swelling in the joints that can result in damage to the bone and cartilage.

Around half of all patients do not respond to one or more of the treatments currently available, and even these can become less successful over time. The researchers behind the new study say stopping the disease closer to the root of the problem could be the best way to treat it, and their results suggest a new target for therapies.

When a microbe infects the body, the body responds by turning on a molecular switch to set the immune system into action and protect the body from disease. Today's findings show that a signal molecule called tenascin-C can trigger the same molecular switch and also activate the immune system. High levels of tenascin-C present in joints therefore may cause the activated immune system to attack the joint leading to the persistent inflammation of rheumatoid arthritis.

The molecular switch is called TLR4, and is found on the surface of immune cells. Previous research has shown that mice without TLR4 do not show chronic joint inflammation. The researchers hope scientists can develop new treatments that target the interaction between tenascin-C and TLR4, which may help to combat rheumatoid arthritis.

Dr Kim Midwood, lead author of the study from the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology at Imperial College London, said: "Rheumatoid arthritis is a debilitating and painful disease and, unfortunately, there is no cure. Furthermore, current treatments are not effective for many patients."

"We have uncovered one way that the immune system may be triggered to attack the joints in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. We hope our new findings can be used to develop new therapies that interfere with tenascin-C activation of the immune system and that these will reduce the painful inflammation that is a hallmark of this condition," added Dr Midwood.

The researchers reached their conclusions by carrying out five studies. One study suggested that tenascin-C was needed to sustain inflammation. The researchers induced joint inflammation in mice with and without the gene for tenascin-C. They found the mice that could produce tenascin-C had severe joint swelling with bone and cartilage destruction, but the mice that could not produce tenascin-C had no swelling or tissue destruction at all.

In a subsequent study, the researchers injected the active part of the tenascin-C molecule into mice joints. They found it caused the joints of the mice to become inflamed and that this reaction was more intense with higher doses.

Another experiment demonstrated that tenascin-C causes swelling in the joints by increasing levels of molecules that cause inflammation. The researchers took human immune cells called macrophages and cells called fibroblasts from the swollen joint of patients with rheumatoid arthritis and added tenascin-C. After the tenascin-C was added, the cells produced more molecules that cause inflammation.

The authors plan to work out the precise mechanism by which tenascin-C increases these levels of inflammatory molecules in the human joint and try to find ways to inhibit this action.

This work was funded by the Arthritis Research Campaign, The Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology Trustees and an MRC New Investigators Research Grant awarded to K. M. The researchers are also grateful for support from the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre funding scheme.

Lucy Goodchild | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.imperial.ac.uk

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Malaria Already Endemic in the Mediterranean by the Roman Period
27.07.2017 | Universität Zürich

nachricht Serious children’s infections also spreading in Switzerland
26.07.2017 | Universitätsspital Bern

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: Physicists Design Ultrafocused Pulses

Physicists working with researcher Oriol Romero-Isart devised a new simple scheme to theoretically generate arbitrarily short and focused electromagnetic fields. This new tool could be used for precise sensing and in microscopy.

Microwaves, heat radiation, light and X-radiation are examples for electromagnetic waves. Many applications require to focus the electromagnetic fields to...

Im Focus: Carbon Nanotubes Turn Electrical Current into Light-emitting Quasi-particles

Strong light-matter coupling in these semiconducting tubes may hold the key to electrically pumped lasers

Light-matter quasi-particles can be generated electrically in semiconducting carbon nanotubes. Material scientists and physicists from Heidelberg University...

Im Focus: Flexible proximity sensor creates smart surfaces

Fraunhofer IPA has developed a proximity sensor made from silicone and carbon nanotubes (CNT) which detects objects and determines their position. The materials and printing process used mean that the sensor is extremely flexible, economical and can be used for large surfaces. Industry and research partners can use and further develop this innovation straight away.

At first glance, the proximity sensor appears to be nothing special: a thin, elastic layer of silicone onto which black square surfaces are printed, but these...

Im Focus: 3-D scanning with water

3-D shape acquisition using water displacement as the shape sensor for the reconstruction of complex objects

A global team of computer scientists and engineers have developed an innovative technique that more completely reconstructs challenging 3D objects. An ancient...

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Physicists gain new insights into nanosystems with spherical confinement

27.07.2017 | Materials Sciences

Seeing more with PET scans: New chemistry for medical imaging

27.07.2017 | Life Sciences

Did you know that infrared heat and UV light contribute to the success of your barbecue?

27.07.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>