Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Researchers Identify A Key "Brake" Of The Immune Response

Date:
February 5, 2002
Source:
Columbia University College Of Physicians And Surgeons
Summary:
Scientists at Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons and elsewhere report they have identified a key pair of molecules, called ILT3 and ILT4, that could help clinicians precisely modulate the immune response to help treat a variety of diseases.

When the body is exposed to a foreign substance, such as a virus or bacteria, the immune system responds in an elaborate process by making cells and agents that fight off the invaders.

Related Articles


But sometimes physicians want to be able to turn off the immune response, such as during bone marrow or organ transplants to prevent the host from rejecting the donor tissue. On the other hand, doctors would like to boost the immune response against malignant cells and HIV-infected cells to help fight cancer and AIDS.

Now scientists at Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons and elsewhere report they have identified a key pair of molecules, called ILT3 and ILT4, that could help clinicians precisely modulate the immune response to help treat a variety of diseases. The molecules are the first to be characterized on antigen presenting immune cells, called dendritic cells, to function as a brake for the immune response. Antigens are molecules, such as proteins from viruses or even from the body's own tissue, that can elicit an immune response.

The findings are being reported Jan. 27 in the online version of Nature Immunology and in the February issue of the publication.

Led by Dr. Nicole Suciu-Foca, professor of clinical pathology, the researchers provide evidence for how increasing the amount of ILT3 and ILT4 on dendritic cells could create tolerance to foreign tissues, such as donor tissue or bone marrow. Their results also suggest that somehow decreasing the amount of ILT3 and ILT4 on these cells might allow the body to better fight AIDS and cancer cells.

ILT3 and ILT4 on dendritic cells function as a brake for the immune system, shutting off the immune response and then creating a state of tolerance to antigens, which can be foreign or derived from the body itself, explains Dr. Suciu-Foca. To shut down the immune response, the body presses its "foot" harder on the brake pedal to boost ILT3 and ILT4 activity in the dendritic cells. To enhance the immune response, the body lowers the ILT3 and ILT4 activity.

In the study, the investigators showed how other cells of the immune system, the T-suppressor cells, are responsible for slowing down the activity of the dendritic cells. Dendritic cells present to T cells, including T suppressor cells, the specific antigen against which the immune response had been initiated.

In the study, the researchers showed in cell culture how increasing the activity of ILT3 and ILT4 on dendritic cells could make the immune system tolerant to antigens. They also analyzed the blood of heart transplant recipients and showed that those who did not reject donor hearts had T- suppressor cells that induced the activity of ILT3 and ILT4 in donor dendritic cells. The results show that the heart recipients without rejection had T-suppressor cells that had been primed to suppress a response to foreign hearts.

The findings of the study also have implications for type I diabetes and other autoimmune diseases, Dr. Suciu-Foca says. In autoimmune disease, the immune system attacks normal body tissue rather than being tolerant of it. Enhancing activity of ILT3 and ILT4 in dendritic cells, which present the target antigen in such patients, might help affected patients suppress the immune response against their own tissues.

Dr. Suciu-Foca and her colleagues are now investigating the possible use of ILT3 and ILT4 to treat patients with AIDS, cancer, or transplants.

The research was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health and the Interuniversity Organ Transplantation Consortium in Rome, Italy.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Columbia University College Of Physicians And Surgeons. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Columbia University College Of Physicians And Surgeons. "Researchers Identify A Key "Brake" Of The Immune Response." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 February 2002. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/02/020205075838.htm>.
Columbia University College Of Physicians And Surgeons. (2002, February 5). Researchers Identify A Key "Brake" Of The Immune Response. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/02/020205075838.htm
Columbia University College Of Physicians And Surgeons. "Researchers Identify A Key "Brake" Of The Immune Response." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/02/020205075838.htm (accessed December 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, December 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) A touch-free phone developed in Israel enables the mobility-impaired to operate smart phones with just a movement of the head. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) Polish scientists isolate bacteria from earthworm intestines which they say may be used in antibiotics and cancer treatments. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Existing Chemical Compounds Could Revive Failing Antibiotics, Says Danish Scientist

Existing Chemical Compounds Could Revive Failing Antibiotics, Says Danish Scientist

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) A team of scientists led by Danish chemist Jorn Christensen says they have isolated two chemical compounds within an existing antipsychotic medication that could be used to help a range of failing antibiotics work against killer bacterial infections, such as Tuberculosis. Jim Drury went to meet him. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hugging It Out Could Help You Ward Off A Cold

Hugging It Out Could Help You Ward Off A Cold

Newsy (Dec. 21, 2014) Carnegie Mellon researchers found frequent hugs can help people avoid stress-related illnesses. Video provided by Newsy
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