Team identifies potential cause for lupus

July 14, 2017, Northwell Health

Leading rheumatologist and Feinstein Institute for Medical Research Professor Betty Diamond, MD, may have identified a protein as a cause for the adverse reaction of the immune system in patients suffering from lupus. A better understanding of how the immune system becomes overactive will help lead to more effective treatments for lupus and potentially other autoimmune diseases. These findings were published in Nature Immunology.

Lupus is an autoimmune disease that causes the immune system to lose the ability to differentiate between foreign agents and healthy tissue. It becomes hyperactive and attacks healthy tissue, causing inflammation and damage to joints, skin, and internal organs. Previous studies have shown that a polymorphism or variation in the gene PRDM1 is a risk factor for . PRDM1 enacts the production of a protein called Blimp-1. In this study, Dr. Diamond and her team were looking to examine how Blimp-1 regulates the immune system.

"A healthy immune system is able to identify organisms that are not normally in the body and activate like T-Cells to attack them," said Dr. Diamond. "In the case of patients with an autoimmune disease like lupus, the immune system has started to identify as something to target. Our study found that a low level of or no Blimp-1 protein in a particular cell type led to an increase in the protein CTSS which caused the immune system to identify healthy cells as something to attack - particularly in females."

In an animal model, Dr. Diamond's team was able to show that females with reduced production of Blimp-1 caused an increase in CTSS, a that helps the immune system see microbes, or a microorganisms that causes . This resulted in an immune system which attacked healthy cells. Male animals with the reduced production of Blimp-1 showed no change in their immune system. Though more study is required to confirm that the risk gene PRDM1 could lead to a hyperactive immune system in human females, this is a significant discovery to better understanding the causes and potential treatments for lupus.

Explore further: Advancing our understanding of how the disease lupus is prevented in healthy individuals

More information: Sun Jung Kim et al. Increased cathepsin S in Prdm1−/− dendritic cells alters the TFH cell repertoire and contributes to lupus, Nature Immunology (2017). DOI: 10.1038/ni.3793

Related Stories

Advancing our understanding of how the disease lupus is prevented in healthy individuals

October 31, 2016
A group of researchers at Tokyo Medical and Dental University(TMDU) have identified a molecule that stops the immune system from mistakenly reacting to a component of the body's own cells, which could improve our ability ...

Researchers find key mechanism to control antibody production

April 28, 2017
A research team from iMM Lisboa led by Luís Graça has found a cellular mechanism that underlies the development of autoimmune diseases.

Breakthrough opens door to safer lupus drugs

May 14, 2015
A ground-breaking discovery by Monash University researchers could revolutionise treatments given to lupus sufferers, saving thousands of people each year from serious illness or death caused by secondary infections.

Recommended for you

A Trojan Horse delivery for treating a rare, potentially deadly, blood-clotting disorder

September 21, 2018
In proof-of-concept experiments, University of Alabama at Birmingham researchers have highlighted a potential therapy for a rare but potentially deadly blood-clotting disorder, TTP. The researchers deliver this therapeutic ...

Study shows surprise low-level ozone impact on asthma patients

September 21, 2018
A new study led by UNC School of Medicine researchers indicates that ozone has a greater impact on asthma patients than previously thought. The study, published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, recruited ...

Cancer immunotherapy might benefit from previously overlooked immune players

September 20, 2018
Cancer immunotherapy—efforts to boost a patient's own immune system, allowing it to better fight cancer cells on its own—has shown great promise for some previously intractable cancers. Yet immunotherapy doesn't work ...

Gut fungus exacerbates asthma in antibiotic-treated mice

September 20, 2018
A non-pathogenic fungus can expand in the intestines of antibiotic-treated mice and enhance the severity of allergic airways disease, according to a study published September 20 in the open-access journal PLOS Pathogens by ...

Paracetamol use in infancy is linked to increased risk of asthma in some teenagers

September 17, 2018
Children who take paracetamol during their first two years of life may be at a higher risk of developing asthma by the age of 18, especially if they have a particular genetic makeup, according to new research presented at ...

Cord blood clue to respiratory diseases

September 15, 2018
New research has found children born in the last three months of the year in Melbourne may have a greater risk of developing respiratory diseases such as asthma.

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.