MAY 14, 2017 2:31 PM PDT

Age-associated B Cells Trigger Several Autoimmune Disorders

WRITTEN BY: Kara Marker

Age-associated B cells (ABCs) were discovered in 2011 to be phenotypically and functionally unique cells common in the spleen, blood, and bone marrow. However, not much more was known about what role ABCs played in the immune system; now a study from scientists at National Jewish Health reveal the secret behind the function of ABCs: a trigger for several autoimmune diseases.

Credit: WatchFit

Autoimmune diseases like lupus, Crohn’s disease, and multiple sclerosis disproportionately affect women; nearly 80 percent of autoimmune patients are female. Researchers are hopeful that the recent discovery will lead to both a new therapeutic target to prevent and treat autoimmune reactions as well as provide an explanation for why females appear to be more prone to autoimmune diseases than males.

How it works

Past investigations of ABCs connected the mysterious cells to “appropriate humoral responses” as a result of infections or other things commonly recognized by the immune system to keep the body healthy. However, the new study indicated a new role for the cells that serves the opposite purpose.

Peering into B cells, researchers found that a transcription factor called T-bet induces ABC development when three B cell surface receptors are simultaneously stimulated: TLR7, interferon-gamma, and a B cell receptor. “We believe the same process occurs in humans with autoimmune disease, more often in elderly women,” explained an investigator involved in the study, Kira Rubtsova, PhD. "Our findings for the first time show that ABCs are not only associated with autoimmune disease, but actually drive it.”

The researchers confirmed the relationship between T-bet expression, ABC induction, and the triggering of autoimmune diseases by suppressing intracellular T-bet expression, which ultimately protected autoimmune-prone mice from disease.

Rubtsova and her team are also interested in studying ABCs and their potential relationship to diseases outside of autoimmunity, including sarcoidosis, hypersensitivity pneumonitis, and chronic beryllium disease.

The present study was published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Sources: Journal of Immunology, National Jewish Health

About the Author
  • I am a scientific journalist and enthusiast, especially in the realm of biomedicine. I am passionate about conveying the truth in scientific phenomena and subsequently improving health and public awareness. Sometimes scientific research needs a translator to effectively communicate the scientific jargon present in significant findings. I plan to be that translating communicator, and I hope to decrease the spread of misrepresented scientific phenomena! Check out my science blog: ScienceKara.com.
You May Also Like
JUL 19, 2020
Microbiology
A Hybrid Fungus Is Linked to Lung Infections
JUL 19, 2020
A Hybrid Fungus Is Linked to Lung Infections
A type of fungus that's been found in soil or plants has now been identified in a hospital environment and in people for ...
JUL 21, 2020
Cancer
Colorectal cancer screening kits delivered to you through the mail
JUL 21, 2020
Colorectal cancer screening kits delivered to you through the mail
New research published in the American Cancer Society’s CANCER says that improving screening rates for colorectal ...
JUL 29, 2020
Health & Medicine
New Study to Put Medical Cannabis to a Proper Test
JUL 29, 2020
New Study to Put Medical Cannabis to a Proper Test
Real world use of medical cannabis is going to be put to the test in a first-of-its-kind study that should add a lo ...
AUG 03, 2020
Plants & Animals
Pollutants, Pathogens and Toxins Found in Shellfish
AUG 03, 2020
Pollutants, Pathogens and Toxins Found in Shellfish
Scientists used cutting edge technologies to assess how pervasive toxic or household chemicals and pathogens like plasti ...
AUG 07, 2020
Cancer
Immune-Related Genes as Prognostic Biomarkers
AUG 07, 2020
Immune-Related Genes as Prognostic Biomarkers
Cancer is one of the most persistent and hardy diseases. Cancers often develop the ability to suppress the immune system ...
AUG 10, 2020
Cell & Molecular Biology
Lead Exposure Seems to Affect Gene Expression in Kids
AUG 10, 2020
Lead Exposure Seems to Affect Gene Expression in Kids
We have known for decades that lead harms the body. This work can help explain how that happens.
Loading Comments...