Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Immune system glitch tied to fourfold higher likelihood of death identified

Date:
June 4, 2012
Source:
Mayo Clinic
Summary:
High levels of an antibody molecule has been found to be linked to increased rates of death from all diseases.

Mayo Clinic researchers have identified an immune system deficiency whose presence shows someone is up to four times likelier to die than a person without it. The glitch involves an antibody molecule called a free light chain; people whose immune systems produce too much of the molecule are far more likely to die of a life-threatening illness such as cancer, diabetes and cardiac and respiratory disease than those whose bodies make normal levels.

Related Articles


The study is published in the June issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

Researchers studied blood samples from nearly 16,000 people 50 and older enrolled in a population-based study of plasma cell disorders in Olmsted County, Minn. They found that those who had the highest level of free light chains -- the top 10 percent -- were about four times more at risk of dying than those with lower levels. Even after accounting for differences in age, gender and kidney function, the risk of death was roughly twice as high.

The study suggests that high levels of free light chains are markers of increased immune system response to infection, inflammation or some other serious disorders, says lead researcher Vincent Rajkumar, M.D., a Mayo Clinic hematologist.

Researchers have known that high levels of free light chains are associated with increased risk of death among patients with plasma disorders, such as lymphomas and other blood cancers, but this is the first study to find that high levels of light chains are associated with increased mortality in the general population. Free light chain levels can be measured by using a serum free light chain assay, a simple blood test. This test is often used to monitor light chain levels in patients with plasma disorders such as myeloma to gauge how well they are responding to treatment.

However, Dr. Rajkumar cautions against administering this test with the intent of gauging one's risk of death.

"We do not recommend this test as a screening test, because it will only cause alarm," Dr. Rajkumar says. "We do not know why this marker is associated with higher rates of death. We do not have a way of turning things around. Therefore, I would urge caution in using this test until we figure out what to do about it and what these results mean."

Plasma cells are white blood cells that produce large amounts of antibodies and are key to fighting off infection. The antibodies are composed of two different types of molecules tightly joined to each other: heavy chains and light chains. Most people produce at least a slightly excess amount of light chains that can be detected in the blood in the "free" state, unbound to heavy chains. Free light chains are not usually a threat to health, but excess levels serve as a marker of underlying immune system stimulation, kidney failure or plasma cell disorders such as myeloma.

Next steps for researchers include identifying the precise mechanisms by which excess free light chains are associated with a higher likelihood of death and determining if specific diagnostic or treatment options need to be pursued.

The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health. Freelite, the manufacturer of the serum free light chain assay, provided the serum free light chain assay reagents for this study.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Angela Dispenzieri et al. Use of Nonclonal Serum Immunoglobulin Free Light Chains to Predict Overall Survival in the General Population. Mayo Clin Proc, 2012 DOI: 10.1016/j.mayocp.2012.03.009

Cite This Page:

Mayo Clinic. "Immune system glitch tied to fourfold higher likelihood of death identified." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 June 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120604093106.htm>.
Mayo Clinic. (2012, June 4). Immune system glitch tied to fourfold higher likelihood of death identified. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120604093106.htm
Mayo Clinic. "Immune system glitch tied to fourfold higher likelihood of death identified." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120604093106.htm (accessed November 26, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) — The US FDA is announcing new calorie rules on Tuesday that will require everywhere from theaters to vending machines to include calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Daily Serving Of Yogurt Could Reduce Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

Daily Serving Of Yogurt Could Reduce Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) — Need another reason to eat yogurt every day? Researchers now say it could reduce a person's risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Madagascar Working to Contain Plague Outbreak

Madagascar Working to Contain Plague Outbreak

AFP (Nov. 24, 2014) — Madagascar said Monday it is trying to contain an outbreak of plague -- similar to the Black Death that swept Medieval Europe -- that has killed 40 people and is spreading to the capital Antananarivo. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Newsy (Nov. 24, 2014) — A new study links greater authority with increased depressive symptoms among women in the workplace. 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