Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Body's 'safety procedure' could explain autoimmune disease

Date:
September 5, 2013
Source:
Monash University
Summary:
Researchers have found an important safety mechanism in the immune system that may malfunction in people with autoimmune diseases, such as Multiple Sclerosis, potentially paving the way for innovative treatments.

Monash University researchers have found an important safety mechanism in the immune system that may malfunction in people with autoimmune diseases, such as Multiple Sclerosis, potentially paving the way for innovative treatments.

Related Articles


Published today in Immunity, the research, led by Head of the Monash Department of Immunology Professor Fabienne Mackay, described for the first time how the body manages marginal zone (MZ) B cells, which form a general first line of attack against germs, but are potentially harmful.

MZ B cells are integral to our defenses as they rapidly produce polyreactive antibodies that are capable of destroying a variety of pathogens. This first response gives the body time to put in place an immune reaction specific to the invading microbe.

However, MZ B cells have the potential to turn against the body. Some are capable of producing antibodies which attack healthy, rather than foreign, cells -- known as an autoimmune response. Bacteria trigger MZ B cells irrespective of whether these cells are dangerous or benign, effectively placing anyone with a bacterial infection at risk of developing an autoimmune disease.

Professor Mackay's team has discovered the mechanism that regulates this response, ensuring that that the majority of infections do not result in the body attacking its own tissue.

"We found that while MZ B cells are rapidly activated, they have a very short life span. In fact, the very machinery which triggers a response leads to MZ B cells dying within 24 hours," Professor Mackay said.

"This means that in a healthy person, the potentially harmful immune cells are not active for long enough to cause in tissue damage. We now need to look at whether a malfunction in this safety feature is leading to some autoimmune diseases."

When MZ B cells are activated by bacteria, they express greater amounts of a protein known as TACI. When TACI binds to another protein as part of the immune response, this triggers the activation of the 'death machinery' inside MZ B cells. The detection of a pathogen sets of a chain reaction that both activates and then destroys MZ B cells.

Professor Mackay said this was an entirely new way of looking at the immune system.

"The research suggests that through evolution the immune system has not solely been vulnerable to infections but has learned to take advantage of pathogens to develop its own internal safety processes," Professor Mackay said.

"This says something important about our environment -- pathogens are not always the enemy. They can also work hand in hand with our immune system to protect us against some immune diseases."


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. William A. Figgett, Kirsten Fairfax, Fabien B. Vincent, Mélanie A. Le Page, Indzi Katik, Devy Deliyanti, Pin Shie Quah, Pali Verma, Raelene Grumont, Steve Gerondakis, Paul Hertzog, Lorraine A. O’Reilly, Andreas Strasser, Fabienne Mackay. The TACI Receptor Regulates T-Cell-Independent Marginal Zone B Cell Responses through Innate Activation-Induced Cell Death. Immunity, 2013; DOI: 10.1016/j.immuni.2013.05.019

Cite This Page:

Monash University. "Body's 'safety procedure' could explain autoimmune disease." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 September 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130905134018.htm>.
Monash University. (2013, September 5). Body's 'safety procedure' could explain autoimmune disease. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130905134018.htm
Monash University. "Body's 'safety procedure' could explain autoimmune disease." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130905134018.htm (accessed November 27, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

AFP (Nov. 27, 2014) — The Ebola epidemic sweeping Sierra Leone is having a profound effect on the country's children, many of whom have been left without any family members to support them. Duration: 01:02 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Experimental Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise In Human Trial

Experimental Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise In Human Trial

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) — A recent test of a prototype Ebola vaccine generated an immune response to the disease in subjects. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) — Researchers in the United States are preparing to discover whether a drug commonly used in human organ transplants can extend the lifespan and health quality of pet dogs. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) — Advances in prosthetics are making replacement body parts stronger and more lifelike than they’ve ever been. 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