The body’s immune cells are efficient “patrolmen” who take immediate action when foreign threats invade and endanger our health. But they are prone to “misidentification” – misattacks on healthy cells and joints, triggering what we call autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis. Scientists have just discovered a new mechanism that could be the key to regulating these immune attacks, raising hopes of preventing joint inflammation and the new disease swedulation it brings.
The study, conducted by scientists at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, focused on proteins called IL-4 and IL-13, respectively. They are produced by the immune system when it detects an allergen or parasite infection, which scientists have been studying for some time to find more effective treatments for inflammation and related diseases.
Using the CRISPR gene-editing tool, scientists at the Karolinska Institute have now further clarified their role in inflammation. The technique allowed the team to adjust a select set of immune cell genes to understand how these adjustments affect cellular behavior.
“The results we got using CRISPR are key to a quick understanding of how the systems we are regulating are,” says Dr Wermeling. I hope that crispR’s experimental use is important to our understanding of how immune cell behavior is regulated, and that it will guide us in developing new effective drugs. “
Through these experiments, the team looked at how IL-4 and IL-13 affect the behavior of so-called neutrophils. Neutlyinvasive white blood cells are immune cells that accumulate in large numbers in inflamed joints in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. The team found that IL-4 and IL-13 played a positive role in blocking the path of neutrophils and preventing them from migrating to inflamed joints, while also helping to reduce arthritis itself.
Despite the excitement at the findings, the team realized that translating this new understanding into new advanced treatments such as arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis would require a lot of further research.
Lead researcher Fredrik Wermeling said: “We will continue to study these mechanisms and hope that our work will contribute to the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.” “
The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.