Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Immune system protein could explain pancreatitis

31.08.2012
There is now a clear target for the treatment of acute pancreatitis, according to researchers at Lund University in Sweden, who have discovered that a well-known protein plays a central role in the development of the disease. It is likely that the protein is also highly significant for other inflammatory diseases.

The research results have been published in the American journal Gastroenterology.

Excessive alcohol intake and gall stones are known risk factors for acute pancreatitis. However, as yet no explanation has been found for what actually happens in the body in cases of acute pancreatitis.

Current research shows that calcium-sensitive proteins found in the body, for example calcineurin, promote inflammation, but it is not known exactly how.

Henrik Thorlacius and Maria Gomez at the University’s Department of Clinical Sciences in Malmö have investigated this in more detail. The focus is on a family of proteins linked to calcineurin, called NFAT, the role of which in acute pancreatitis has not previously been studied.

“The protein has an unexpectedly major role in the development of inflammation in the pancreas. Now there is a clear target for the development of drugs and treatments”, says Henrik Thorlacius, Professor of Surgery at Lund University and a doctor at Skåne University Hospital.

In experiments on mice, the researchers found a number of links between NFAT and acute pancreatitis. NFAT, and especially the variant NFATc3, were found to regulate the activity of trypsinogen (a precursor form of the digestive enzyme trypsin), which can affect the risk of acute pancreatitis. The activation of NFATc3 was also found to encourage inflammation and tissue damage in the pancreas in various other ways.

“In our study, we saw that the aorta, spleen and lungs were also affected. The results therefore suggest that the NFAT protein plays a part in the development of inflammatory diseases on a more general level”, says Henrik Thorlacius.

The findings open up new opportunities for research on treatment and drugs, both for acute pancreatitis and for other acute inflammatory diseases, such as blood poisoning and inflammatory bowel disease.

“An effective drug needs to contain a substance that stops the activation of NFATc3 without producing serious side-effects”, says Professor Thorlacius.

The NFAT proteins function as transcription factors, which means that they can be bound to the body’s DNA and regulate the expression of specific genes in different cells. They have so far primarily been associated with immune cells.

Publication
Article title: ‘NFATc3 Regulates Trypsinogen Activation, Neutrophil Recruitment, and Tissue Damage in Acute Pancreatitis in Mice’

Published in: Gastroenterology

About acute pancreatitis
The pancreas forms various enzymes and hormones that are necessary for digestion and to keep sugar levels stable.

Pancreatitis can be either chronic or acute, and as yet no one has been able to explain the causes of the disease. High alcohol intake and gall stones are known risk factors.

Every year, one person in 1 000 in Sweden is affected by pancreatitis, corresponding to around 9 000 cases. Of these, 10–20 per cent fall seriously ill, with a risk of fatality. There are no effective drugs to treat the condition.

For more information
Henrik Thorlacius, Professor of Surgery at the Department of Clinical Sciences in Malmö, Lund University and doctor at Skåne University Hospital, +46 70 34 55 150, henrik.thorlacius@med.lu.se

Maria F. Gomez, Reader in Physiology at the Department of Clinical Sciences in Malmö, Lund University, +46 70 222 62 16, maria.gomez@med.lu.se

Helga Ekdahl Heun | idw
Further information:
http://www.lu.se

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht The cytoskeleton of neurons has been found to be involved in Alzheimer's disease
18.01.2019 | University of the Basque Country

nachricht Bioinspired nanoscale drug delivery method developed by WSU, PNNL researchers
10.01.2019 | Washington State University

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: Ten-year anniversary of the Neumayer Station III

The scientific and political community alike stress the importance of German Antarctic research

Joint Press Release from the BMBF and AWI

The Antarctic is a frigid continent south of the Antarctic Circle, where researchers are the only inhabitants. Despite the hostile conditions, here the Alfred...

Im Focus: Ultra ultrasound to transform new tech

World first experiments on sensor that may revolutionise everything from medical devices to unmanned vehicles

The new sensor - capable of detecting vibrations of living cells - may revolutionise everything from medical devices to unmanned vehicles.

Im Focus: Flying Optical Cats for Quantum Communication

Dead and alive at the same time? Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics have implemented Erwin Schrödinger’s paradoxical gedanken experiment employing an entangled atom-light state.

In 1935 Erwin Schrödinger formulated a thought experiment designed to capture the paradoxical nature of quantum physics. The crucial element of this gedanken...

Im Focus: Nanocellulose for novel implants: Ears from the 3D-printer

Cellulose obtained from wood has amazing material properties. Empa researchers are now equipping the biodegradable material with additional functionalities to produce implants for cartilage diseases using 3D printing.

It all starts with an ear. Empa researcher Michael Hausmann removes the object shaped like a human ear from the 3D printer and explains:

Im Focus: Elucidating the Atomic Mechanism of Superlubricity

The phenomenon of so-called superlubricity is known, but so far the explanation at the atomic level has been missing: for example, how does extremely low friction occur in bearings? Researchers from the Fraunhofer Institutes IWM and IWS jointly deciphered a universal mechanism of superlubricity for certain diamond-like carbon layers in combination with organic lubricants. Based on this knowledge, it is now possible to formulate design rules for supra lubricating layer-lubricant combinations. The results are presented in an article in Nature Communications, volume 10.

One of the most important prerequisites for sustainable and environmentally friendly mobility is minimizing friction. Research and industry have been dedicated...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Our digital society in 2040

16.01.2019 | Event News

11th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Aachen, 3-4 April 2019

14.01.2019 | Event News

ICTM Conference 2019: Digitization emerges as an engineering trend for turbomachinery construction

12.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Additive manufacturing reflects fundamental metallurgical principles to create materials

18.01.2019 | Materials Sciences

How molecules teeter in a laser field

18.01.2019 | Life Sciences

The cytoskeleton of neurons has been found to be involved in Alzheimer's disease

18.01.2019 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>