Skip to comments.Take a chill pill, T cell
Posted on 06/20/2008 8:05:03 PM PDT by neverdem
A receptor on infection-fighting cells may be a novel target for drugs that fight autoimmune disease.
TURNING ON ITSELF
After mice were made allergic to a protein, researchers injected the same protein into mouse lungs to cause a disease that mimics asthma. The lung tissue of normal mice (left) shows more severe inflammation than that of mice lacking the gene for the DR3 receptor (right). Because DR3 plays a crucial role in immune cells attacking healthy tissue, the receptor may be a target for drugs that treat autoimmune disorders like asthma or multiple sclerosis.
Siegel, Françoise Meylan
In people with autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis and asthma, infection-fighting cells go haywire and wage war against the bodys own tissue, causing inflammation. Existing treatments can prevent the immune system from getting out of control, but can also compromise a persons ability to fight some infections.
But a new study suggests that a specific receptor on immune cells holds promise as a target for treating such disorders, perhaps without affecting immunity.
The receptor, called DR3, lies on the surface of T cells, which help the body combat infection. When a molecule called TL1A binds to the receptor, it spurs the T cells into action. But this same interaction can also lead the T cells to attack healthy tissue. Turning off the gene for this receptor seems to quell this inflammation in mice, researchers report online June 19 in the journal Immunity.
It wasnt far-fetched to think DR3 may play a role in autoimmune disease. DR3 is part of a family of TNF receptors, which are involved in activating immune cells and have been implicated in autoimmune disease, says Michael Croft, an immunologist at the La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology in California, who was not involved in...
(Excerpt) Read more at sciencenews.org ...
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