Researchers pursuing arthritis protein

Researchers pursuing arthritis protein
The healthy blood cells stem from the blood bank at Rigshospitalet in Copenhagen, and more than 50 donors have been examined with the same result. Credit: Blood cells, Bruce Wetzel, Harry Schaefer, National Cancer Institute.

Researchers at the University of Copenhagen have investigated a special protein that appears in inflammatory diseases such as arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease and psoriasis. The findings have just been published in the scientific journal PLOS ONE.

Chronic poses something of a mystery for researchers. If we become infected, the body immediately takes steps to repair and tidy it up. This process manifests itself as inflammation, which stems from a high level of activity in the immune cells, the body's defence against bacteria and viruses. But it does not always go according to plan. Every so often, the body's immune system over-reacts, and the inflammation develops into a chronic condition, resulting in diseases such as arthritis, and psoriasis. However, researchers are now a step closer to understanding what happens when the immune system over-reacts and causes chronic inflammation.

"Through analysing , we have observed that a particular protein called TL1A can get healthy cells to behave like those we see in chronic inflammation. This is bringing us closer to unlocking the mystery of inflammation," says Kirsten Reichwald, PhD student at the Department of Veterinary Disease Biology, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen. The results have been published in PLOS ONE.

Biological treatment fights arthritis

Today, doctors can use so-called biological medicines for treating arthritis, which has radically changed the outlook for patients. Biological treatment works by impeding the harmful substances that are partly responsible for advancing the chronic inflammation in the body. Almost 40 per cent of arthritis patients experience a positive effect when taking biological medicines.

"Existing means that doctors today can halt the diseases instead of just relieving the symptoms," explains Kirsten Reichwald.

However, in order to block the right substances, doctors need detailed information about the processes that cause chronic inflammation. The researchers therefore studied cells from 50 from the at Rigshospitalet in Copenhagen, and concluded that the protein TL1A has a key role in the development of the inflammation.

"Our latest findings tell us, that the TL1A protein takes part in driving the inflammation, and therefore it makes sense to try and block the protein with biological medicines," says Kirsten Reichwald, who hopes that her future research will help to provide even more specific knowledge about inflammation.

What the researchers did

The researchers studied blood cells from blood donors in a proinflammatory environment with and without the TL1A protein. Analysed how the cells had developed, how they grew, and whether they resembled those that the researchers see in . The healthy blood cells stem from the blood bank at Rigshospitalet in Copenhagen, and more than 50 donors have been examined with the same result.

More information: dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0085793

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Drink milk? Women who do may delay knee osteoarthritis

Apr 07, 2014

New research reports that women who frequently consume fat-free or low-fat milk may delay the progression of osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee. Results published in the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) ...

User comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

chiefsfan37
not rated yet Jan 10, 2014
Have you guys tried topical pain relief to fight arthritis pain?

It provides the same, usually greater, relief that specific pills do, however, there are no pills or side effects. I get my topical pain gels through my pharmacy in the midwest, A&R Pharmacy in Liberty, MO, and simply apply the gel whenever I'm in pain. I've been using it for six months and had more than significant results since going this route and I highly recommend it for anyone struggling with pain and/or pills. I hope this helps!