Vitamin A used in acne medicines may help autoimmune and transplant patients

January 30, 2014, Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology

The same form of Vitamin A used by teenagers to combat acne might offer benefits that are more than skin deep. That's because an international team of researchers have found that it may also help keep the immune system under control for people with autoimmune disorders or those who have received transplants. This finding was published in the February 2014 issue of the Journal of Leukocyte Biology.

"The results will help us to use the different protocol of Treg induction for clinical therapy in autoimmune diseases and organ transplantation protection,'" said Song Guo Zheng, M.D., Ph.D., a Professor of Medicine and leading author involved in the work from the Department of Medicine, Autoimmunity Research Center at Penn State University Hershey College of Medicine, in Hershey, Pennsylvania.

To make this discovery, scientists used cells isolated from mice and humans to conduct a head-to-head comparison of the role of all-trans retinoid acid (ATRA) on CD4+ and CD8+ Treg cell development. While ATRA significantly promoted CD4+Foxp3+Treg development and function in mice and humans, it did not boost the differentiation and function of CD8+Foxp3+Treg. On the contrary, ATRA interfered with the differentiation and function of human CD8+Foxp3+Treg. This suggests that ATRA-treated CD4+Treg is superior to ATRA-treated CD8+Treg for the treatment of autoimmune disease and organ transplantation. This lays the groundwork for the potential development of specific Treg subsets to combat specific and complications.

"The great thing about this discovery is that we already have a strong foundation of clinical use of this form of Vitamin A and know that it is well-tolerated by people," said E. John Wherry, Ph.D., Deputy Editor of the Journal of Leukocyte Biology. "These findings are a great example of the ability to exploit currently used drugs and our growing molecular and cellular understanding of the immune system. Such approaches represent exactly the kind of merging of basic science and clinical medicine that defines translational research."

Explore further: New insight into immune tolerance furthers understanding of autoimmune disease

More information: Jilin Ma, Ya Liu, Yang Li, Jian Gu, Justin Liu, Jiayou Tang, Julie Wang, Bernhard Ryffel, Yi Shen, David Brand, Zhongmin Liu, and Song Guo Zheng. Differential role of all-trans retinoic acid in promoting the development of CD4+ and CD8+ regulatory T cells. J Leukoc Biol. February 2014 95:275-283; DOI: 10.1189/jlb.0513297

Related Stories

New insight into immune tolerance furthers understanding of autoimmune disease

September 15, 2011
It is no easy task to preserve the delicate balance that allows us to maintain a strong immune system that can defend us from harmful pathogens, but that is sensitive enough to correctly identify and spare our own cells. ...

Dialing back treg cell function boosts the body's cancer-fighting immune activity

August 18, 2013
By carefully adjusting the function of crucial immune cells, scientists may have developed a completely new type of cancer immunotherapy—harnessing the body's immune system to attack tumors. To accomplish this, they had ...

Following an immune cell's career path

July 6, 2012
The immune system produces diverse varieties of T cells (Fig. 1), such as pathogen-destroying cytotoxic T cells and immune response-boosting helper T cells. Regulatory T (Treg) cells restrain these other cells and prevent ...

Fatty acid produced by gut bacteria boosts the immune system

November 13, 2013
New research from the RIKEN Center for Integrative Medical Sciences in Japan sheds light on the role of gut bacteria on the maturation of the immune system and provides evidence supporting the use of butyrate as therapy for ...

Predicting outcome for high-dose IL-2 therapy in cancer patients

December 2, 2013
One of the most potent forms of immunotherapy for patients with metastatic melanoma and renal cell carcinoma is high-dose (HD) bolus IL-2 therapy. Approximately 15% of patients respond to HD IL-2 therapy, with almost 5% going ...

Friends in low places preserve gut health

January 10, 2014
The bacterial communities that live in our intestines should not be considered freeloaders—they contribute substantially to our well-being in a number of ways, including assisting in the breakdown of otherwise indigestible ...

Recommended for you

Researchers discover key driver of atopic dermatitis

January 17, 2018
Severe eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a chronic inflammatory skin condition that is driven by an allergic reaction. In their latest study, researchers at La Jolla Institute reveal an important player that promotes ...

Who might benefit from immunotherapy? New study suggests possible marker

January 16, 2018
While immunotherapy has made a big impact on cancer treatment, the fact remains that only about a quarter of patients respond to these treatments.

Researchers identify new way to unmask melanoma cells to the immune system

January 16, 2018
system, which enables these deadly skin cancers to grow and spread.

How the immune system's key organ regenerates itself

January 15, 2018
With advances in cancer immunotherapy splashing across headlines, the immune system's powerful cancer assassins—T cells—have become dinner-table conversation. But hiding in plain sight behind that "T" is the organ from ...

Immunosuppressive cells in newborns play important role in controlling inflammation in early life

January 15, 2018
New research led by The Wistar Institute, in collaboration with Sun Yat-sen University in China, has characterized the transitory presence of myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) in mouse and human newborns, revealing ...

Memory loss from West Nile virus may be preventable

January 15, 2018
More than 10,000 people in the United States are living with memory loss and other persistent neurological problems that occur after West Nile virus infects the brain.

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.