Blocking this special protein could help treat IBD, arthritis and more
Researchers from University of Copenhagen have identified a special protein that they say may have a role in autoimmune diseases like inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis and possibly more. The finding could lead to therapies that block inflammation produced by the protein known as TL1A.
The study results, published in the journal PLOS ONE, may unlock the mysteries of what causes inflammation to lead to autoimmune diseases that happen when the immune system over-reacts.
For their investigation researchers analyzed cells from blood donors with and without the TL1A protein.
"Through analysing blood cells, we have observed that a particular protein called TL1A can get healthy cells to behave like those we see in chronic inflammation. This is bringing us closer to unlocking the mystery of inflammation,” says Kirsten Reichwald, PhD student at the Department of Veterinary Disease Biology, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen in a press release.
Reichwald notes that biological treatments can stop rheumatoid arthritis from advancing. But in order to deliver targeted treatment more information is needed on the exact processes that cause inflammation.
What the researchers found is that TL1A induces pro-inflammatory cytokines that are linked to rheumatoid arthritis, IBD, psoriasis and other autoimmune diseases. Targeting the TL1A protein with biological therapies could potentially help treat inflammatory bowel and other diseases that are brought about by autoimmune dysfunction.
January 8, 2014
Image credit: Pixabay
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