Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Lupus Study Finds Abnormal Alpha-Interferon Secretion May Lead To Better Gene Therapies For Immune-System Disease

Date:
November 26, 2001
Source:
University Of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
Summary:
Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas and the Baylor Institute for Immunology Research in Dallas have linked abnormal secretion of alpha interferon to the malfunctioning immune systems of young patients with lupus, a disease that can damage kidneys, skin, heart and other organs in children and can be fatal without early treatment.

DALLAS (Nov. 16, 2001) -- Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas and the Baylor Institute for Immunology Research in Dallas have linked abnormal secretion of alpha interferon to the malfunctioning immune systems of young patients with lupus, a disease that can damage kidneys, skin, heart and other organs in children and can be fatal without early treatment.

Related Articles


The finding, published in today's issue of Science, is a major step toward explaining how systemic lupus erythematosus deceives the body's immune system into destroying healthy cells and could lead to enhanced therapies, said Dr. Virginia Pascual, assistant professor of pediatrics at UT Southwestern and an assistant investigator at the Baylor Immunology Institute.

Dr. Karolina Palucka, an associate investigator at the Baylor Immunology Institute and a researcher on the study, said, "The study is the first to identify how the interaction between lymphoid and myeloid dendritic cells -- which play fundamental roles to initiate immune responses to bacteria, viruses and other invading antigens -- can go wrong in lupus patients."

Pascual said the normal process appears to be altered in lupus patients as the dendritic cells are hyperactivated by alpha interferon, one of three main classes of specialized protein weapons activated in the body's otherwise normal war against viruses.

"Once that virus-fighting job is done, the interferon normally disappears, but not in lupus patients," she said.

Pascual said blocking the abnormal alpha-interferon secretion could be the key to developing better lupus therapies than the currently prescribed steroids, other anti-inflammatory agents and chemotherapy. More research is needed to test that theory, she said.

For the study, laboratory analyses were run on blood samples taken from 70 7- to 18-year-old lupus patients and a similar number of age-matched children and youth in control groups at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children and Children's Medical Center of Dallas.

Palucka said the tests showed that alpha interferon plays a key role in the immune process going haywire as the dendritic cells activate B and T cells, two types of white blood cells, against infectious agents.

"The dendritic cells in their resting state are also critical for establishing tolerance, that is, the lack of immune responses to our own tissues," said Dr. Jacques Banchereau, senior author of the study, Baylor Immunology Institute director and adjunct professor of microbiology at UT Southwestern. "But, when stimulated with interferon as in lupus, the dendritic cells can induce strong immunity, eventually leading to autoimmunity, when body tissues are mistakenly attacked by the patient's own immune system."

The analyses, he said, revealed that dendritic cells are produced very efficiently when blood cells from normal donors were cultured with the serum from lupus patients. Then the researchers identified alpha interferon as the primary substance responsible for this effect, he said.

The researchers found that the young patients' dendritic cells capture blood-carried debris of normal cells that have died, Pascual said. Dead-cell components, she added, normally are removed by scavenger cells, and the immune system never encounters that waste. But this is not true in lupus patients, she said.

It is that abnormal reaction that can lead to the lupus patient's immune system attacking healthy cells and causing chronic inflammation that may affect skin, heart, lungs, joints, nervous system and, more often, the kidneys, Pascual said.

Dr. Patrick Blanco, a fellow at the Baylor Immunology Institute, and Dr. Michelle Gill, a fellow in pediatric infectious diseases at UT Southwestern, also worked on the project. Blanco, a physician from France, was the first to find that lupus white cells included a large number of dendritic cells.

The findings in the pediatric study, the researchers said, should also apply to adult lupus patients, who are predominantly women. Overall, the lupus incidence rate rivals that of multiple sclerosis, striking about 1 in 2,000 Americans. About 25 percent of all systemic cases start before age 18, and children tend to suffer more severe effects than adult patients, Pascual said.

Her earlier studies had demonstrated that the B cells, white blood cells that may mature into plasma cells to generate antibodies to fight infection, also pool abnormally in the blood of lupus patients. Other lupus studies had found abnormalities with the T cells. Those findings led to the latest study because B and T cells are activated by interaction with the dendritic cells, Pascual said.

The work was funded by the Baylor Health Care System Foundation, the Centre Hospitalo-Universitaire de Bordeaux in France and the National Institutes of Health.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. "Lupus Study Finds Abnormal Alpha-Interferon Secretion May Lead To Better Gene Therapies For Immune-System Disease." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 November 2001. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/11/011120055447.htm>.
University Of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. (2001, November 26). Lupus Study Finds Abnormal Alpha-Interferon Secretion May Lead To Better Gene Therapies For Immune-System Disease. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/11/011120055447.htm
University Of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. "Lupus Study Finds Abnormal Alpha-Interferon Secretion May Lead To Better Gene Therapies For Immune-System Disease." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/11/011120055447.htm (accessed December 21, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) It's hard to resist those delicious but fattening carbs we all crave during the winter months, but there are some ways to stay satisfied without consuming the extra calories. Vanessa Freeman (@VanessaFreeTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) More than 100 motorcyclists hit the road to spread awareness messages about Ebola. Nearly 7,000 people have now died from the virus, almost all of them in west Africa, according to the World Health Organization. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) The new year is coming and nothing will energize you more for 2015 than protein-filled foods. Fitness and nutrition expert John Basedow (@JohnBasedow) gives his favorite high protein foods that will help you build muscle, lose fat and have endless energy. Video provided by Buzz60
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