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Shadow Proteins In Thymus May Explain How Immune System Gets To Know Its Own Body

Date:
October 11, 2002
Source:
Harvard Medical School
Summary:
Researchers at Joslin Diabetes Center, Harvard Medical School, and other institutions have identified the function of a protein, dubbed aire, that is critical to helping immune cells learn to recognize -- and avoid attacking -- the far-flung organs and tissues of the body. The protein appears to work by turning on in the thymus, which lies beneath the breast bone, the production of a wide array of proteins from the body's periphery. The discovery could shed light not only on how the healthy immune system develops tolerance to its own proteins but also how tolerance is lost, as it is in diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn's disease and other autoimmune illnesses.

Boston (October 10, 2002) -- Researchers at Joslin Diabetes Center, Harvard Medical School, and other institutions have identified the function of a protein, dubbed aire, that is critical to helping immune cells learn to recognize -- and avoid attacking -- the far-flung organs and tissues of the body. The protein appears to work by turning on in the thymus, which lies beneath the breast bone, the production of a wide array of proteins from the body's periphery. The discovery could shed light not only on how the healthy immune system develops tolerance to its own proteins but also how tolerance is lost, as it is in diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn's disease and other autoimmune illnesses.


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


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Harvard Medical School. "Shadow Proteins In Thymus May Explain How Immune System Gets To Know Its Own Body." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 October 2002. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/10/021011071648.htm>.
Harvard Medical School. (2002, October 11). Shadow Proteins In Thymus May Explain How Immune System Gets To Know Its Own Body. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/10/021011071648.htm
Harvard Medical School. "Shadow Proteins In Thymus May Explain How Immune System Gets To Know Its Own Body." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/10/021011071648.htm (accessed April 20, 2014).

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