New alarm molecule causes inflammation
While our immune system has the very important function of protecting us from infection and injury, when immune responses become too aggressive, this can lead to inflammation. harmful infections, which occur in conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis. Inflammation is triggered when our bodies produce “alarm proteins” (interleukins), which strengthen our defenses against infection and injury by turning on different components of the system. immunity.
Understanding how and when such alarm proteins are produced and how they activate our immune systems has led to major breakthroughs in the treatment of many immune conditions.
Interleukin-37: Effects of anti-inflammatory responses in humans
Now, scientists from the Institute of Smurfit Genetics at Trinity College Dublin, led by Seamus Martin, Professor of Smurfit Genetics, have discovered that interleukin-37 has an unexpected function as an activating molecule. immunity, as previous studies suggested that this interleukin instead serves as an “off switch” for the immune system.
Professor Martin says:
“Interleukin plays an important role in regulating our immune system in response to bacterial and fungal infections. However, Interleukin-37 has long remained a mystery, as it was not found. In mammals like mice, this has made it difficult to figure out what it does, just as what we know about the human immune system was first discovered in model organisms with biologically similar to our own.”
Before the new study, Interleukin-37 was thought to have an immunosuppressive function but exactly how it shuts down inflammation is still hotly debated. However, Trinity scientists now report that, when properly activated, Interleukin-37 exhibits potent pro-inflammatory activity.
Professor Martin added:
“This inflammatory effect was unexpected. And, to add interest to the story, this brings the total number of immune alarm molecules that signal through this particular interleukin receptor to four.
“Why so many interleukins bind to the same receptor is a mystery, but if we speculate it could be because the receptor serves a very important sentinel function in our skin and a alarm proteins may not be enough to respond to the many different infectious agents that our skin encounters.Our skin is the main barrier between our body and the outside world that bacteria have to overcome. if they want to get into our bodies and, in many respects, it represents the first line of defense in our immune system.”
Thus, interleukin-37 and other immune alarm proteins may have evolved to become distinct variants on the same topic that allow our bodies to detect different types of infections by being stimulated. activated by enzymes that are different from each infectious agent.
The study has just been published in the internationally renowned journal, Science Immunology, and is a collaboration between several Trinity research groups led by Professor Martin’s team, including postdoctoral scientists, Dr. Dr. Graeme Sullivan and Dr. Pavel Davidovich, along with leading research teams. by Professor Ed Lavelle (School of Biochemistry and Immunology) and Professor Pat Walsh (School of Clinical Medicine).