Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

UT Southwestern Researchers Locate Gene Family Involved In Determining Potential For Acquiring Lupus

Date:
January 3, 2005
Source:
University Of Texas Southwestern Medical Center At Dallas
Summary:
Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas have found a gene family involved in determining the potential for acquiring lupus, a debilitating autoimmune disease that affects more than one million Americans.

Dr. Ward Wakeland, director of the Center for Immunology, and his colleagues have found a gene family involved in determining the potential for acquiring lupus. From the Center for Immunology are (from left) Dr. Amy Wandstrat, assistant instructor; Dr. Wakeland; Charles Nguyen, Medical Scientist Training Program student; and Nisha Limaye, student research assistant.
Credit: Photo courtesy of University Of Texas Southwestern Medical Center At Dallas

DALLAS - Dec. 15, 2004 - Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas have found a gene family involved in determining the potential for acquiring lupus, a debilitating autoimmune disease that affects more than one million Americans.

"Our findings indicate genetic susceptibility to lupus results from imbalance between genes that increase and genes that suppress the immune system's responsiveness," said Dr. Ward Wakeland, director of the Center for Immunology and the Harold C. Simmons Arthritis Research Center at UT Southwestern and senior author of the study in today's issue of Immunity. "Individuals with increased risk for lupus may simply have the misfortune of expressing a 'bad' combination of versions of genes that are 'good' for resistance to infectious diseases."

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disease causing the immune system to attack the body's own tissue and organs, including the joints, kidneys, heart, lungs, brain, blood and skin. The Lupus Foundation of America estimates approximately 1.5 million Americans have the disease, which affects all age groups. It is 10 to 15 times more likely in adult women than adult men.

In its study of a mouse strain that develops autoimmunity similar to human SLE, Dr. Wakeland's research team identified a cluster of genes, the SLAM/CD2 family, occurring in the same region of the human genome associated with genetic susceptibility to the disease. The genes played a crucial role in the disease's development in the mice, but only when they were expressed in specific combinations with other genes.

"The SLAM/CD2 family interacts with sets of highly variable genes, which can provide a pathway toward disease," said Dr. Wakeland.

In addition, the researchers linked this gene family to resistance to infectious diseases. The latest findings follow an earlier discovery by Dr. Wakeland and his colleagues of four genes that can halt lupus. These "suppressor" genes - Sles1, Sles2, Sles3 and Sles4 - can block the disease even if the susceptibility gene family is active.

"For example, Sles1 specifically suppresses the autoimmune activity associated with the SLAM/CD2 gene family found in the mouse model," Dr. Wakeland said. "With the identification of SLAM/CD2, we now have half of the combination of genes that can either lead to or suppress severe disease. Once we fully characterize Sles1, we'll have the complete picture."

Researchers in the Center for Immunology are currently working with faculty in the Division of Rheumatology and the Simmons Arthritis Research Center to expand analysis of these genes and their functions into humans with SLE, as well as individuals who may be at increased risk for developing the disease so they can be identified earlier.

"The way the disease is treated now is through a broad spectrum of drug therapies that basically suppress the entire immune system," Dr. Wakeland said. "Patients with lupus under this therapy are at risk to develop infectious diseases because their immune system is completely impaired. If we can understand what the suppressor gene is doing to block SLAM/CD2, we may be able to tweak the immune system back into normal balance."

Other Center for Immunology contributors to the Immunity study were Dr. Amy Wandstrat, assistant instructor; Xiang-Hong Tian, senior research associate; Charles Nguyen, Medical Scientist Training Program student; Alice Chan, MSTP student; Nisha Limaye, student research assistant; Srividya Subramanian, student research assistant; and Dr. Young-Sun Yim, former postdoctoral researcher. Dr. Harold Garner, professor of biochemistry, and Dr. Alexander Pertsemlidis, assistant professor in the Eugene McDermott Center for Growth and Development at UT Southwestern and Dr. Laurence Morel of the University of Florida School of Medicine also contributed.

Research was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health, the Alliance for Lupus Research, the Lupus Research Institute, the Arthritis Foundation and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

University Of Texas Southwestern Medical Center At Dallas. "UT Southwestern Researchers Locate Gene Family Involved In Determining Potential For Acquiring Lupus." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 January 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/12/041219192615.htm>.
University Of Texas Southwestern Medical Center At Dallas. (2005, January 3). UT Southwestern Researchers Locate Gene Family Involved In Determining Potential For Acquiring Lupus. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/12/041219192615.htm
University Of Texas Southwestern Medical Center At Dallas. "UT Southwestern Researchers Locate Gene Family Involved In Determining Potential For Acquiring Lupus." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/12/041219192615.htm (accessed October 1, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Pregnancy Spacing Could Have Big Impact On Autism Risks

Pregnancy Spacing Could Have Big Impact On Autism Risks

Newsy (Oct. 1, 2014) A new study says children born less than one year and more than five years after a sibling can have an increased risk for autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robotic Hair Restoration

Robotic Hair Restoration

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) A new robotic procedure is changing the way we transplant hair. The ARTAS robot leaves no linear scarring and provides more natural results. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Insertable Cardiac Monitor

Insertable Cardiac Monitor

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) A heart monitor the size of a paperclip that can save your life. The “Reveal Linq” allows a doctor to monitor patients with A-Fib on a continuous basis for up to 3 years! Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Attacking Superbugs

Attacking Superbugs

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) Two weapons hospitals can use to attack superbugs. Scientists in Ireland created a new gel resistant to superbugs, and a robot that can disinfect a room in minutes. Video provided by Ivanhoe
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