Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Graves' eye disease: Immune cell linked to inflammation and scarring identified

Date:
January 15, 2010
Source:
University of Michigan Health System
Summary:
A cell type that causes significant scarring in lung disease appears to have a similar effect in Graves' disease, researchers have found. The cells, called fibrocytes, are present at a higher than normal frequency in patients with Graves' disease, according to a new study, the first to associate fibrocytes with this autoimmune disease.

Dr. Terry Smith (left) and Dr. Raymond Douglas.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Michigan Health System

A cell type that causes significant scarring in lung disease appears to have a similar effect in Graves' disease, University of Michigan Health System researchers have found. The cells, called fibrocytes, are present at a higher than normal frequency in patients with Graves' disease, according to a new study, the first to associate fibrocytes with this autoimmune disease.

The discovery is a major step forward in explaining how and why the orbit of the eye is subject to scarring and inflammation in Graves' disease.

The findings may also lead to new treatment strategies to target scarring or fibrosis, say authors Raymond Douglas, M.D., Ph.D., and Terry Smith, M.D., specialists in Graves' disease at the University of Michigan Kellogg Eye Center. The study appears in the January issue of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Graves' disease is an autoimmune disorder which results in an overactive thyroid. Up to half of those affected by the disease will develop inflammation or fibrosis around their eyes, creating the bulging appearance associated with Graves' eye disease, also called thyroid-associated ophthalmopathy. Excessive scarring can cause such manifestations as double vision or even loss of vision.

"Today we have medications to reduce inflammation, but these drugs typically do not treat the fibrotic effects of thyroid eye disease," says Douglas, oculoplastics surgeon. "Our study is the first to implicate fibrocytes in the disease process, a finding that should open up new possibilities for treatment."

Fibrocytes are immune cells derived from bone marrow that circulate through the bloodstream. They can infiltrate tissue, like the lungs, kidney, and liver, generating excess connective tissue and areas of fibrosis, for example, following pulmonary or kidney injury.

To determine whether fibrocytes play a similar role in Graves' disease, these investigators and their colleagues examined tissue samples from 70 patients with the disease and compared them to 25 healthy subjects. The samples were gathered while Douglas and Smith were on the faculty of the University of California at Los Angeles.

They found that fibrocytes were present at substantially higher frequencies -- as much as five times greater -- in patients with Graves' disease. These levels were observed in both the bloodstream and in the orbital tissues of patients who had developed thyroid eye disease.

In earlier studies, Douglas and Smith identified the antigens that trigger the overactive immune response in Graves' disease. Now they report that fibrocytes express the same antigens: thyroid-stimulating hormone receptor (TSHR) and insulin-like growth factor-1 receptor (IGF-1R). In addition, the Kellogg researchers say, when these receptors are activated, they produce a large quantity of cytokines which could stimulate immune cells to the orbit, causing inflammation in thyroid eye disease.

"We now have a much clearer picture of the disease process, including the pathway by which fibrocytes reach the orbit," says Douglas. "Drugs currently under development for other fibrotic diseases are designed to disrupt this pathway and prevent fibrocytes from reaching their target." According to Douglas, "These therapies may be just as effective for our patients with thyroid eye disease."

As follow-up to the study, the Kellogg researchers plan to more fully identify the role of fibrocytes in the disease process and test whether several new agents, such as rituximab, can reduce these cells as they circulate through the bloodstream. The authors also recently demonstrated that rituximab was highly effective in treating patients with severe Graves' disease.

Funding support includes grants from the National Institutes of Health, Research to Prevent Blindness, and the Bell Charitable Foundation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Michigan Health System. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Douglas et al. Increased Generation of Fibrocytes in Thyroid-Associated Ophthalmopathy. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 2010; 95 (1): 430 DOI: 10.1210/jc.2009-1614

Cite This Page:

University of Michigan Health System. "Graves' eye disease: Immune cell linked to inflammation and scarring identified." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 January 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100109002318.htm>.
University of Michigan Health System. (2010, January 15). Graves' eye disease: Immune cell linked to inflammation and scarring identified. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100109002318.htm
University of Michigan Health System. "Graves' eye disease: Immune cell linked to inflammation and scarring identified." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100109002318.htm (accessed September 16, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

EU Ministers and Experts Meet to Discuss Ebola Reponse

EU Ministers and Experts Meet to Discuss Ebola Reponse

AFP (Sep. 15, 2014) The European Commission met on Monday to coordinate aid that the EU can offer to African countries affected by the Ebola outbreak. Duration: 00:58 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Despite The Risks, Antibiotics Still Overprescribed For Kids

Despite The Risks, Antibiotics Still Overprescribed For Kids

Newsy (Sep. 15, 2014) A new study finds children are prescribed antibiotics twice as often as is necessary. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

AP (Sep. 15, 2014) The FDA is considering whether to ban devices used by the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center in Canton, Massachusetts, the only place in the country known to use electrical skin shocks as aversive conditioning for aggressive patients. (Sept. 15) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Respiratory Virus Spreads To Northeast, Now In 21 States

Respiratory Virus Spreads To Northeast, Now In 21 States

Newsy (Sep. 14, 2014) The respiratory virus Enterovirus D68, which targets children, has spread from the Midwest to 21 states. 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:
from the past week

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