A research team led by Dr. Chandra Mohan, associate professor of internal medicine, found that a defect in the Ly108 gene causes immune cells called B-cells to attack the body's healthy cells, resulting in systemic lupus erythematosus, or SLE. Their findings are published in today's issue of the journal Science.
Further research based on the study's findings may lead to better diagnostic tests and therapeutic drugs to help cure human lupus, said Dr. Mohan, the paper's senior author.
"If we can demonstrate that the same gene defect we described in the mouse model also causes human lupus, it would open ways to block the disease by developing therapeutics targeting pathways activated by the mutated Ly108 gene," Dr. Mohan said.
Kirthi Raman Kumar, the paper's lead author and a graduate student in immunology, said, "This is the first demonstration of how immature B-cells from lupus-prone mice behave differently from lupus-resistant normal mice and how this difference can lead to autoimmunity."
In a separate lupus study published online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, another team of UT Southwestern researchers describe the role of a mutated gene called Tlr7, which interacts with Ly108 in triggering the mechanisms leading to a deadly form of lupus in mice by causing another component of the immune system to malfunction.
The research team led by Dr. Edward Wakeland, professor of immunology and director of UT Southwestern's Center for Immunology, explained that mice that died of lupus carried twice the normal amount of copies of the mutated receptor gene Tlr7.
"If you put both genes together, you create fatal disease – the mouse dies of the mouse version of SLE," said Dr. Wakeland, who is also a contributing author to the Science paper.
The faulty gene mechanism described by Dr. Wakeland's lab occurs in the body's basic or innate immune system, which recognizes an initial infection and responds to very generic forms of single-stranded viral RNA.
In contrast, Dr. Mohan's group explained a key mechanism in the development of lupus occurring in the adaptive immune system, which consists of cells that constantly adapt themselves to better recognize invading organisms and produce antibodies to fight them.
Both studies could yield promising targets for the development of specific drugs to treat or prevent human lupus, Drs. Mohan and Wakeland said.
Many of the current medications for lupus are drugs that were developed to treat other diseases. Such lupus medications include corticosteroids, chemotherapy drugs and the malaria drug Plaquenil.
"The available treatments are non-specific and can often cause undesirable side effects," Dr. Mohan said.
Lupus is a chronic disease that can cause life-threatening damage to many parts of the body, including the kidneys, 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.
Genetic predisposition, gender and race are major risk factors for lupus, which affects an estimated 270,000 to more than one million people in the United States. Women are five times more likely to die from lupus than men, and African-Americans are three times more like to die from lupus than Caucasians, according to the Alliance for Lupus Research. It is also more common in women of Hispanic, Asian and Native-American descent. Nine out of 10 people with lupus are women.
Toni Heinzl | EurekAlert!
Scientists uncover the role of a protein in production & survival of myelin-forming cells
19.07.2018 | Advanced Science Research Center, GC/CUNY
NYSCF researchers develop novel bioengineering technique for personalized bone grafts
18.07.2018 | New York Stem Cell Foundation
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...
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...
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...
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....
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...
13.07.2018 | Event News
12.07.2018 | Event News
03.07.2018 | Event News
19.07.2018 | Earth Sciences
19.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering
19.07.2018 | Materials Sciences