Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New insights into immune system of gastrointestinal tract

Date:
December 9, 2013
Source:
Helmholtz Zentrum Muenchen - German Research Centre for Environmental Health
Summary:
Lymphotoxin is a cytokine, or intercellular messenger, and plays an important role in the immunological balance of the gastrointestinal tract. It regulates the immune system of the digestive tract, which is made up of immune cells, immunoglobulins (antibodies) as well as intestinal bacteria. An international team of scientists has now discovered how this complex interaction functions and how lymphotoxin controls the production of immunoglobulins in the gut.

Lymphotoxin is a cytokine, or intercellular messenger, and plays an important role in the immunological balance of the gastrointestinal tract. It regulates the immune system of the digestive tract, which is made up of immune cells, immunoglobulins (antibodies) as well as intestinal bacteria. An international team of scientists supported by the Helmholtz Zentrum München has now discovered how this complex interaction functions and how lymphotoxin controls the production of immunoglobulins in the gut. The results are published in the latest issue of the specialist journal Science.

Naturally occurring intestinal bacteria (also known as gut flora) and an immune system comprising local immune cells maintain the immunological balance in the gastrointestinal tract. One important agent is immunoglobulin A (IgA), which is found on mucous membranes, where it renders pathogens and toxins harmless.

Lymphotoxins control the production of immunoglobulin A (IgA) and thus participate in immune responses as well as in the regular composition of the intestinal flora, the scientists report in the study. The team led by Dr. Andrey Kruglov and Professor Sergei Nedospasov from the German Rheumatism Research Center (DRFZ) Berlin, an institute of the Leibniz Association, Professor Mathias Heikenwälder from the Institute of Virology at the Helmholtz Zentrum München (HMGU) as well as other national and international partners were able to show that lymphotoxins -- soluble lymphotoxin alpha (sLTa3) as well as membrane-bound lymphotoxin beta (LTa1b2) -- induce IgA production and support the body's immune response. Lymphotoxins are inflammatory messengers that are formed by immune cells when they come into contact with pathogens. If these lymphotoxins are lacking, IgA production is reduced or even halted, resulting in changes in the intestinal flora.

"The results provide us with new insights into how the enteric immune system functions. The relationship between inflammatory messengers and the performance of the immune system helps us to understand how intestinal diseases occur," Professor Heikenwälder explains. He adds another important relevance of their results: "These insights are also important for the treatment with certain immunomodulators (such as tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF) blockers). They bind soluble lymphotoxin and could therefore also influence IgA production and as a result upset the immunological balance."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Helmholtz Zentrum Muenchen - German Research Centre for Environmental Health. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. A. A. Kruglov, S. I. Grivennikov, D. V. Kuprash, C. Winsauer, S. Prepens, G. M. Seleznik, G. Eberl, D. R. Littman, M. Heikenwalder, A. V. Tumanov, S. A. Nedospasov. Nonredundant Function of Soluble LT 3 Produced by Innate Lymphoid Cells in Intestinal Homeostasis. Science, 2013; 342 (6163): 1243 DOI: 10.1126/science.1243364

Cite This Page:

Helmholtz Zentrum Muenchen - German Research Centre for Environmental Health. "New insights into immune system of gastrointestinal tract." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 December 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131209090935.htm>.
Helmholtz Zentrum Muenchen - German Research Centre for Environmental Health. (2013, December 9). New insights into immune system of gastrointestinal tract. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131209090935.htm
Helmholtz Zentrum Muenchen - German Research Centre for Environmental Health. "New insights into immune system of gastrointestinal tract." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131209090935.htm (accessed September 1, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Monday, September 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Get on Your Bike! London Cycling Popularity Soars Despite Danger

Get on Your Bike! London Cycling Popularity Soars Despite Danger

AFP (Sep. 1, 2014) — Wedged between buses, lorries and cars, cycling in London isn't for the faint hearted. Nevertheless the number of people choosing to bike in the British capital has doubled over the past 15 years. Duration: 02:27 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) — A new study suggests 100 percent of adult humans (those over 18 years of age) have Demodex mites living in their faces. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Liberia Continues Fight Against Ebola

Liberia Continues Fight Against Ebola

AFP (Aug. 30, 2014) — Authorities in Liberia try to stem the spread of the Ebola epidemic by raising awareness and setting up sanitation units for people to wash their hands. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
California Passes 'yes-Means-Yes' Campus Sexual Assault Bill

California Passes 'yes-Means-Yes' Campus Sexual Assault Bill

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 30, 2014) — California lawmakers pass a bill requiring universities to adopt "affirmative consent" language in their definitions of consensual sex, part of a nationwide drive to curb sexual assault on campuses. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
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