Scientists discover new drug target for inflammatory bowel disease: cytokine (IL-23)

March 31, 2011

A new discovery published in the April 2001 issue of Journal of Leukocyte Biology raises hope that new treatments for illnesses like Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis are on the horizon. That's because they've identified IL-23, a cytokine used by the immune system to ward off disease, as a major contributor to the inflammation that is the hallmark of these illnesses. With this information, it is now possible to develop new treatments that stop or reduce the damaging effects of IL-23, potentially bringing relief to millions of people with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and possibly other inflammatory illnesses as well.

"Our studies highlight the pathogenic role of IL-23 in the induction of mucosal injury in the gut," said Zhanju Liu, M.D., Ph.D., a researcher involved in the work from the Department of Gastroenterology at The Shanghai Tenth People's Hospital at Tongji University in Shanghai, China. "Moreover, our work also provides a novel approach in the management of IBD and some ."

To make this discovery, Liu and colleagues analyzed IL-23 expression in intestinal mucosa using laboratory techniques that amplify and simultaneously quantify a specific DNA molecule, allowing for both detection and quantification of one or more specific sequences in a DNA sample. IL-23R expression was detected in a variety of cells from peripheral blood and intestinal mucosa of IBD patients, suggesting that IL-23 plays an important role in the induction of proinflammatory secretion as well as different types of including recently discovered Th17 helper that are often important in inflammatory diseases.

"This research is important because it helps us better understand why people develop IBD, and defines one of the key pathways driving the excessive inflammation," said John Wherry, Ph.D., Deputy Editor of the Journal of Leukocyte Biology. "Even more important, however, is that this study moves us a step closer to new treatments for these illnesses by targeting IL-23 and related proteins."

More information: hanju Liu, Praveen K. Yadav, Xiaorong Xu, Jingling Su, Chi Chen, Maochun Tang, Hui Lin, Jifeng Yu, Jiaming Qian, Ping-Chang Yang, and Xingpeng Wang. The increased expression of IL-23 in inflammatory bowel disease promotes intraepithelial and lamina propria lymphocyte inflammatory responses and cytotoxicity. J Leukoc. Biol. April 2011 89:597-606; doi:10.1189/jlb.0810456

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Cinnamon turns up the heat on fat cells

November 21, 2017
New research from the University of Michigan Life Sciences Institute has determined how a common holiday spice—cinnamon—might be enlisted in the fight against obesity.

How rogue immune cells cross the blood-brain barrier to cause multiple sclerosis

November 21, 2017
Drug designers working on therapeutics against multiple sclerosis should focus on blocking two distinct ways rogue immune cells attack healthy neurons, according to a new study in the journal Cell Reports.

New simple test could help cystic fibrosis patients find best treatment

November 21, 2017
Several cutting-edge treatments have become available in recent years to correct the debilitating chronic lung congestion associated with cystic fibrosis. While the new drugs are life-changing for some patients, they do not ...

Researchers discover key signaling protein for muscle growth

November 20, 2017
Researchers at the University of Louisville have discovered the importance of a well-known protein, myeloid differentiation primary response gene 88 (MyD88), in the development and regeneration of muscles. Ashok Kumar, Ph.D., ...

New breast cell types discovered by multidisciplinary research team

November 20, 2017
A joint effort by breast cancer researchers and bioinformaticians has provided new insights into the molecular changes that drive breast development.

Brain cell advance brings hope for Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease

November 20, 2017
Scientists have developed a new system to study Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in the laboratory, paving the way for research to find treatments for the fatal brain disorder.

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.