Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Mechanism For Generating Autoimmunity-Suppressing Cells Identified

Date:
March 30, 2001
Source:
Wistar Institute
Summary:
Autoimmune disorders, such as lupus, arthritis, and diabetes, are understood to result from immune cells attacking the body’s own cells instead of infectious agents such as viruses and bacteria. In a new study, scientists at The Wistar Institute have identified for the first time the mechanism by which the immune system generates regulatory T cells, a specialized type of immune cell that plays a critical role in preventing autoimmunity.

PHILADELPHIA -— Autoimmune disorders, such as lupus, arthritis, and diabetes, are understood to result from immune cells attacking the body’s own cells instead of infectious agents such as viruses and bacteria. In a new study, scientists at The Wistar Institute have identified for the first time the mechanism by which the immune system generates regulatory T cells, a specialized type of immune cell that plays a critical role in preventing autoimmunity.

Related Articles


The findings suggest that regulatory T cells are finely tuned toward the recognition of the body’s own proteins—or “self”—and that a failure to make a complete repertoire of regulatory T cells may be an important factor in the development of autoimmune disease. In addition, the study suggests that engineering different types of regulatory T cells in the laboratory could one day become a strategy for combating autoimmune diseases.

The research is published in the April issue of Nature Immunology.

“We and others showed previously that regulatory T cells suppress autoimmunity, but it was unknown how these cells were generated,” says Andrew J. Caton, Ph.D., associate professor at The Wistar Institute and senior author on the study. “Now, we believe we have good insight into that process.”

Caton says the prevailing belief has been that the developing T cells most highly reactive to and specific for self proteins are eliminated by the body, and that developing T cells that are somewhat less specifically reactive to self are recruited for the regulatory function. “Our findings contradict that notion and suggest that regulatory T cells recognize self proteins by a highly specific process,” he says.

Research published last year by the same laboratory reported that as many as 10 percent of T cells in a normal animal are regulatory T cells, indicating their importance as a safeguard against autoimmunity.

“What’s interesting about these regulatory T cells is that, although their purpose is to prevent autoimmunity, they themselves react against self,” Caton says. “However, their properties have been changed so that instead of responding to stimulation by dividing and directing the elimination of infected cells, as a normal T cell does, they instead suppress the local immune response.”

In the future, Caton and his research team intend to explore how the function of regulatory T cells is disrupted in autoimmunity. In addition, the researchers are interested in determining whether infection by a virus could, under certain circumstances, convert the regulatory T cells into a highly self-reactive but pathological form.

Lead author on the paper is Martha S. Jordan, Ph.D. Other Wistar co- authors are Alina Boesteanu, Ph.D., Amy J. Reed, B.S., Andria L. Petrone, B.S., Andrea E. Holenbeck, B.S., and Melissa A. Lerman, B.A. An additional co-author is Ali Naji, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Pennsylvania. Funding for the research was provided by the National Institutes of Health.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wistar Institute. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Wistar Institute. "Mechanism For Generating Autoimmunity-Suppressing Cells Identified." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 March 2001. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/03/010329075707.htm>.
Wistar Institute. (2001, March 30). Mechanism For Generating Autoimmunity-Suppressing Cells Identified. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/03/010329075707.htm
Wistar Institute. "Mechanism For Generating Autoimmunity-Suppressing Cells Identified." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/03/010329075707.htm (accessed November 24, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, November 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) Millions of American suffer from seasonal depression every year. It can lead to adverse health effects, but there are ways to ease symptoms. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

AFP (Nov. 23, 2014) The arable district of Kenema in Sierra Leone -- at the centre of the Ebola outbreak in May -- has been under quarantine for three months as the cocoa harvest comes in. Duration: 01:32 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Don't Fall For Flu Shot Myths

Don't Fall For Flu Shot Myths

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) Misconceptions abound when it comes to your annual flu shot. Medical experts say most people older than 6 months should get the shot. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Indians Muck in for Cleaner Communities

Indians Muck in for Cleaner Communities

AFP (Nov. 22, 2014) India's government is urging all citizens to come together in a mass movement to clean the nation -- but will people heed the call? Duration: 02:39 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins