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Cystic fibrosis: Additional immune dysfunction discovered

Date:
September 4, 2014
Source:
Helmholtz Zentrum Muenchen - German Research Centre for Environmental Health
Summary:
Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a frequent genetic disease affecting the lung and the gastrointestinal tract. Scientists have now shown that many of the adult patients with CF in addition lack a cell surface molecule, which is important for immune defense.

Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a frequent genetic disease affecting the lung and the gastrointestinal tract. Scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum München now have shown that many of the adult patients with CF in addition lack a cell surface molecule, which is important for immune defence. The results have been published recently in the Journal of Molecular Medicine.

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Cystic fibrosis (mucoviscidosis) is due to a mutation of an ion channel which leads to highly viscous mucus and to dysfunction of the lung and the gastrointestinal organs. Since these patients frequently suffer from chronic infections, Dr. Thomas Hofer and Professor Dr. Loems Ziegler-Heitbrock from the Comprehensive Pneumology Center (CPC) at Helmholtz Zentrum München -- together with colleagues at the Klinikum der Universität München and the University of Leicester, UK -- investigated, whether these patients might have an additional immune defect. The scientists found that the immunological cell surface molecule HLA-DQ is reduced or absent in many of these patients.

Defect is seen in all relevant leukocyte populations

HLA-DQ belongs to the MHC class II molecules, which can present crucial parts of invading microbes to immune cells such that the latter are activated leading to specific elimination of the pathogens. The class II molecules are strongly expressed on primary immune cells such as monocytes, macrophages and so-called dendritic cells. The study showed that HLA-DQ is reduced or absent in all these cell types in the blood and in the lung. Hence, all of the relevant antigen-presenting cells of the immune system are affected.

First insight into the molecular mechanism

In order to uncover the molecular mechanism behind this defect, the team studied the different steps in the molecular regulation In patients with a defect of HLA-DQ, the inflammatory messenger interferon-gamma was unable to induce the transcription factor CIITA along with a failure to increase HLA-DQ. What remains unclear is the cause of the deficient interferon response and the contribution of defective HLA-DQ to the course of the disease. In further studies the scientists aim to develop a rapid test system for the immune dysfunction that may be of great importance for diagnosis and treatment of cystic fibrosis.


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. Thomas P. Hofer, Marion Frankenberger, Irene Heimbeck, Dorothe Burggraf, Matthias Wjst, Adam K. A. Wright, Maria Kerscher, Susanne Nährig, Rudolf M. Huber, Rainald Fischer, Loems Ziegler- Heitbrock. Decreased expression of HLA-DQ and HLA-DR on cells of the monocytic lineage in cystic fibrosis. Journal of Molecular Medicine, 2014; DOI: 10.1007/s00109-014-1200-z

Cite This Page:

Helmholtz Zentrum Muenchen - German Research Centre for Environmental Health. "Cystic fibrosis: Additional immune dysfunction discovered." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 September 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/09/140904084508.htm>.
Helmholtz Zentrum Muenchen - German Research Centre for Environmental Health. (2014, September 4). Cystic fibrosis: Additional immune dysfunction discovered. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/09/140904084508.htm
Helmholtz Zentrum Muenchen - German Research Centre for Environmental Health. "Cystic fibrosis: Additional immune dysfunction discovered." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/09/140904084508.htm (accessed December 24, 2014).

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