Researchers discover new signaling pathway linked to inflammatory disease

December 14, 2010

Scientists at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have described for the first time a key inhibitory role for the IL-1 signaling pathway in the human innate immune system, providing novel insights into human inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and potential new treatments.

The research, led by Jose M. Gonzalez-Navajas, PhD, and Eyal Raz, MD, a professor of medicine at UC San Diego, is published as a Brief Definitive Report in the December issue of The .

The researchers report that signaling by the interleukin 1 receptor (IL-1R) controls expression of a protein called DUBA (deubquitinase A), which in turn affects production of anti-inflammatory cytokines reacting to certain bacterial stimuli. Cytokines are molecules that help trigger an immune system response to infections and cancer. Some induce inflammation, some suppress it.

The IL-1R is essential to producing key anti-inflammatory cytokines like IL-10 and type 1 interferon, but , infection and some drugs can disrupt the signaling process, resulting in reduced or increased cytokine production that upsets delicate balances and leads to disease. Laboratory mice deficient in IL-1R type signaling were shown to produce fewer anti-inflammatory cytokines and were more susceptible to a condition similar to human . Human IBD encompasses a group of disorders affecting the colon and . The major types are Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.

The authors said the research also revealed the deleterious effects of some anti-inflammatory drugs. IL-1 is a pro-inflammatory cytokine implicated in certain conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and gout, the latter a painful inflammation of the toes and feet. The authors propose that several drugs currently used to treat these conditions by blocking IL-1 activity could be harmful to patients suffering from IBD, which generally involves an overwhelming immune response against normal, non-pathogenic gut bacteria.

"Our findings indicate that the use of such drugs can be harmful and therefore should be avoided in such patients," said Raz.

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Hibernating ground squirrels provide clues to new stroke treatments

November 17, 2017
In the fight against brain damage caused by stroke, researchers have turned to an unlikely source of inspiration: hibernating ground squirrels.

Age and gut bacteria contribute to multiple sclerosis disease progression

November 17, 2017
Researchers at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School published a study suggesting that gut bacteria at young age can contribute to multiple sclerosis (MS) disease onset and progression.

Molecular guardian defends cells, organs against excess cholesterol

November 16, 2017
A team of researchers at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health has illuminated a critical player in cholesterol metabolism that acts as a molecular guardian in cells to help maintain cholesterol levels within a safe, ...

Prototype ear plug sensor could improve monitoring of vital signs

November 16, 2017
Scientists have developed a sensor that fits in the ear, with the aim of monitoring the heart, brain and lungs functions for health and fitness.

Ancient enzyme could boost power of liquid biopsies to detect and profile cancers

November 16, 2017
Scientists are developing a set of medical tests called liquid biopsies that can rapidly detect the presence of cancers, infectious diseases and other conditions from only a small blood sample. Researchers at The University ...

FDA to crack down on risky stem cell offerings

November 16, 2017
U.S. health authorities announced plans Thursday to crack down on doctors pushing stem cell procedures that pose the gravest risks to patients amid an effort to police a burgeoning medical field that previously has received ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.