Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Double Agents: Penn Researchers Identify Immune Cells That Fight Parasites May Promote Allergies and Asthma

12.03.2010
Millions of people in both the developing and developed world may benefit from new immune-system research findings from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine.

The Penn Vet researchers, studying how the immune system operates, have discovered a previously unidentified cell population that may be the body’s double-edged sword, fighting off parasitic infections but also causing the harmful immune responses that can lead to allergies and asthma.

This cell population, termed multipotent progenitor cells, or MPP, appears to be activated in the context of allergies or infection with parasitic worms and may be one of the earliest cellular events in the developing immune response. The research published by David Artis, assistant professor in the Department of Pathobiology at Penn Vet, and colleagues may identify an important process in the immune response to helminth parasites and allergies.

A better understanding of what regulates the development of this cell population and what promotes its activation and function may aid in the development of drugs.

The research could benefit two patient populations: Those in developing countries still wrestling with parasitic worm infections and those in more industrialized environments where parasites are less prevalent but where immune responses can run amok, leading to a higher prevalence of allergies and asthma.

Millions worldwide struggle with health problems due to parasitic worms. These helminth worm parasites thrive in unsanitary conditions, in uncooked meat and in contaminated water. In more sanitary regions with fewer helminth parasites, the immune response that evolved to fight these infections may be redundant. It has been proposed that, due to reduced exposure to helminth parasites, the inactive immune response may inappropriately respond to substances like pollen, pollutants and some contents of food, resulting in exaggerated rates of asthma and allergy.

The National Institutes of Health estimates that as many as 40 to 50 million Americans suffer from allergic diseases. Consistent with this theory of redundancy, there are reports that show equatorial regions with an abundance of helminth parasites have populations that encounter lower rates of asthma and allergies.

“From an evolutionary perspective, it is likely that we evolved a complex immune response to fight parasitic worms, but our more sanitized environment no longer has this same population of parasites,” Artis said. “This newly identified cell population could represent one of the earliest events in this type of immune response, which offers potential new targets for treatment of infection and allergic inflammation.”

The research team demonstrated that a molecule called IL25, a member of the IL17 cytokine family, promotes the accumulation of a lineage-negative multipotent progenitor cell population in the intestine that promotes T cell responses associated with asthma and helminth infection. The resulting cell population gives rise to cells of macrophage and granulocyte lineages. The ability of IL25 to induce the emergence of an MPP cell population identifies a link between the IL17 cytokine family and extramedullary haematopoiesis and suggests a previously unrecognized innate immune pathway that promotes TH2 cytokine responses at mucosal sites.

The study, published in the current issue of Nature, was conducted by Artis, Steven A. Saenz, Mark C. Siracusa, Jacqueline G. Perrigoue and Sean P. Spencer of the Department of Pathobiology at Penn; Taku Kambayashi and Avinash Bhandoola of the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at Penn; Joseph F. Urban Jr. of the U.S. Department of Agriculture; Joel E. Tocker and Alison L. Budelsky of the Department of Inflammation Research at Amgen; and Melanie A. Kleinschek and Robert A. Kastelein of Discovery Research at Schering-Plough Biopharma.

The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, a National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive Kidney Disease Center Grant and the University of Pennsylvania.

Tocker and Budelsky are stockholding employees of Amgen. Kleinschek and Kastelein are employees of Schering-Plough Biopharma, a subsidiary of Merck & Co. Inc.

Jordan Reese | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.upenn.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht NYSCF researchers develop novel bioengineering technique for personalized bone grafts
18.07.2018 | New York Stem Cell Foundation

nachricht Pollen taxi for bacteria
18.07.2018 | Technische Universität München

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

Im Focus: Chemical reactions in the light of ultrashort X-ray pulses from free-electron lasers

Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.

Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Machine-learning predicted a superhard and high-energy-density tungsten nitride

18.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

NYSCF researchers develop novel bioengineering technique for personalized bone grafts

18.07.2018 | Life Sciences

Why might reading make myopic?

18.07.2018 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>