NOV 12, 2015 2:47 PM PST

Regulating the Immune Response to Relieve IBD Symptoms

WRITTEN BY: Kara Marker
Scientists from the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) have been studying immune action in cases of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) for more than ten years. This week, they discovered a connection between immune cells and cytokine signaling that could change the way people live with IBD. 

According to the CDC, common types of IBD like Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis affect more than a million Americans. These diseases are characterized by chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract due to an unwarranted immune response. The immune cells act as if normal compounds in the GI tract are foreign and dangerous. 

The basic premise of IBD involves the unregulated action of effector immune cells in the GI tract; cytokines are released and stimulate inflammation of the bowels even though no pathogens or damages are present. The scientists from the BIDMC study the two immune cells involved in the troubling IBD immune response: CD4 T cells and Type 1 CD8+ T cells (TC1).

Specifically in Crohn's disease, TC1 cells produce interferon gamma, a cytokine that induces inflammation. Normally, regulatory immune cells inhibit the action of TC1 cells when no action is required, but Crohn's disease patients are chronically unable to perform this maintainence. To make up for this malfunction, the scientists looked at the expression of CD39, an ectoenzyme, on TC1 to see if they could halt the overproduction of interferon gamma.

Ectoenzymes like CD39 have their enzymatically active site outside the plasma membrane, in the extracellular environment. CD39 is naturally expressed by dendritic cells and some regulatory cells and acts as an immunosuppressive.

CD39 is able to regulate the autoimmune reactions in Crohn's disease through "catalytic conversion of proinflammatory extracelluar ATP to immunosuppressive nucleosides" like adenoside, a behavior used by the BIDMC scientists over the past decade as they looked for a way to counter the effect of IBD. Essentially, this enzyme transforms the energy produced by the GI tract inflammation into a product that suppresses the inflammation. 

To conclude their study, the scientists from BIDMC were able to put all of the pieces together by discovering that upregulation of CD39 in IBD patients helped suppress and inhibit interferon gamma production in neighboring TC1 cells. This connection leads to promising new treatment plans for IBD patients, manipulating the body's natural way of controlling inflammation.

Check out the video below to learn more about Crohn's disease and how inflammation of the GI tract affects digestion. 

Source: Medical Xpress



 
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
MAR 06, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
MAR 06, 2020
Scorpion-derived Proteins Deliver Arthritis Treatment
New research published in the journal Science Translational Medicine shows that that a scorpion-derived proteins could s ...
APR 02, 2020
Immunology
APR 02, 2020
Transforming T Cells into Powerful Memory Cells That Target Cancer
New cancer treatments are now based on harnessing the power of the human body’s own immune cells to get the job do ...
APR 14, 2020
Immunology
APR 14, 2020
Immunotherapy Shows Promise, Destroys Metastatic Brain Tumors
Lung cancer is the leading cause of death in both men and women in the U.S., with smokers bearing an elevated risk of th ...
APR 21, 2020
Clinical & Molecular DX
APR 21, 2020
New Diagnostic FET-based Biosensor Enables Rapid Detection of SARS-CoV-2
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic continues to be at the forefront of the World’s attention. COVID- ...
MAY 16, 2020
Neuroscience
MAY 16, 2020
Stem Cell Method (Parkinson's) Could Avoid Transplant Rejection
Researchers at McLean Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) have tested a stem cell treatment method that av ...
MAY 23, 2020
Microbiology
MAY 23, 2020
The FDA Yanks Some COVID-19 Antibody Tests From the Market
The massive demand for diagnostic testing led the FDA to open a short window for many testing products to go to market w ...
Loading Comments...