Researchers at FAU discover important mechanism involved in the resolution of inflammations
Rheumatoid arthritis is the most common autoimmune disease of the joints. It causes a chronic inflammatory response, with the body’s own immune cells attacking the joint, including the cartilage and bone. This process does not cease spontaneously.
An international research team headed by the rheumatologist Dr Andreas Ramming at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) has now managed to identify an immune system cell type that can be used in a targeted attempt to control the inflammatory response in arthritis patients.
The results obtained by the research team at Department of Medicine 3 – Rheumatology and Immunology of Universitätsklinikum Erlangen – have been published in ‘Nature Medicine’.
In Germany some 800,000 people, preliminarily women, suffer from rheumatoid arthritis. This causes persistent inflammation that damages the joints and bones. Patients suffer pain and experience restrictions in terms of their mobility. “A particularly worrying aspect for those affected is the fact that the inflammatory response in joints is exceptionally chronic and thus usually requires lifelong treatment,” explains Prof. Georg Schett, director of the Department of Medicine 3.
Cells known as innate lymphoid cells usually manage the resolution of inflammations.
However, to date, little has been known about how inflammations clear up and why this process does not work in those suffering from rheumatism. Now a joint project involving researchers in London, Barcelona, Zurich, Indianapolis and Dublin has now enabled the researchers in Erlangen to solve this mystery. According to Simon Rauber, an immunologist in Erlangen and primary author of the study, a previously inadequately studied cell population of the immune system called innate lymphoid cells plays a major role in the resolution of inflammations.
It seems that innate lymphoid cells go into a kind of ‘hibernation’ in patients with rheumatism.
“In patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, these innate lymphoid cells are in a state of what can be described as hibernation and as a result the inflammation persists. When innate lymphoid cells are ‘woken up’, this puts a stop to the inflammation and to the damage to the joint,” adds principal investigator Dr Ramming. The discovery of this important mechanism could provide the opportunity to develop completely new options for treating chronic inflammatory diseases.
New forms of treatment monitoring
Even at this stage, measuring the number of innate lymphoid cells in the blood makes it possible to provide a prognosis of the effects of treatment. If there are few innate lymphoid cells in the blood, the disease will flare up and the joint will be further damaged. However, resolution of inflammation is associated with an elevation in the number of these cells. The measurement of blood levels makes it possible to initiate individual, more targeted treatment at an early stage, thus preventing another flare-up of the disease. “These findings will make it possible to significantly improve the quality of treatment of rheumatoid arthritis in future with the help of innate lymphoid cells,” says Dr Ramming.
Together against inflammation
“Collaborative Research Centre 1181 at Universitätsklinikum Erlangen and the priority programme ‘Innate Lymphoid Cells’ (SPP 1937) of the German Research Foundation (DFG) have made a decisive contribution to revealing this central immunological mechanism involved in the resolution of inflammations,” concludes Prof. Schett. The results of this study have been published in the journal Nature Medicine in an article entitled ‘Resolution of inflammation by interleukin-9-producing type 2 innate lymphoid cells’ (DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nm.4373).
Dr. Andreas Ramming
Phone: +49 9131 8539109
Dr. Susanne Langer | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Switch-in-a-cell electrifies life
18.12.2018 | Rice University
Plant biologists identify mechanism behind transition from insect to wind pollination
18.12.2018 | University of Toronto
Researchers from the University of Basel have reported a new method that allows the physical state of just a few atoms or molecules within a network to be controlled. It is based on the spontaneous self-organization of molecules into extensive networks with pores about one nanometer in size. In the journal ‘small’, the physicists reported on their investigations, which could be of particular importance for the development of new storage devices.
Around the world, researchers are attempting to shrink data storage devices to achieve as large a storage capacity in as small a space as possible. In almost...
The more objects we make "smart," from watches to entire buildings, the greater the need for these devices to store and retrieve massive amounts of data quickly without consuming too much power.
Millions of new memory cells could be part of a computer chip and provide that speed and energy savings, thanks to the discovery of a previously unobserved...
What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...
A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.
The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...
A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.
Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...
12.12.2018 | Event News
10.12.2018 | Event News
06.12.2018 | Event News
18.12.2018 | Materials Sciences
18.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
18.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy