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 July 27, 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 July 27, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Newsy (July 27, 2014) — A national study conducted by the USDA Forest Service found that trees collectively save more than 850 lives on an annual basis. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Google's Next Frontier: The Human Body

Google's Next Frontier: The Human Body

Newsy (July 27, 2014) — Google is collecting genetic and molecular information to paint a picture of the perfectly healthy human. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
What's To Blame For Worst Ebola Outbreak In History?

What's To Blame For Worst Ebola Outbreak In History?

Newsy (July 27, 2014) — A U.S. doctor has tested positive for the deadly Ebola virus, as the worst-ever outbreak continues to grow. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Newsy (July 27, 2014) — A new study shows sleep deprivation can make it harder for people to remember specific details of an event. 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