UT Southwestern researchers engineer cells that may hold key to treating inflammatory diseases

August 04, 1999

DALLAS - August 4, 1999 - Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas have converted specialized cells that normally trigger an immune response into cells that trigger cell death.

The research, reported in this month's issue of Nature Medicine, involved the molecular engineering of cells in mice - a procedure that could eventually lead to the prevention and treatment of inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.

"What we did was to change the concept entirely. We tried to convert dendritic cells (which signal for an immune response) into cells that deliver death signals instead of activation signals," said Dr. Akira Takashima, the Thomas L. Shields, M.D., Professor in Dermatology.

Dendritic cells are specialized white blood cells that serve an important function within the immune system. Normally they send activation signals to T lymphocytes to begin multiplying and initiate an immune response.

"Sometimes the dendritic cells that can help a person acquire protective immunity are also involved in the induction of harmful immune responses," said Takashima. "There are many diseases, especially inflammatory diseases, where T cells play a pathogenic role."

For example, rheumatoid arthritis is a common inflammatory joint disease believed to be caused by an autoimmune response. Patients' immune systems form antibodies that improperly attack the lining surrounding joints, causing chronic inflammation.

"The next step is to translate our knowledge of dendritic cells and apply this technology into clinical trials for treating the various diseases caused by T cells," Takashima said.

Dr. Hiroyuki Matsue, assistant professor of dermatology at UT Southwestern and primary author of the study, collaborated with Takashima and other researchers from UT Southwestern, including Keiko Matsue, postdoctoral researcher, and Michael Walters, research technician.

National Institutes of Health grants supported the study.
-end-


UT Southwestern Medical Center

Related Immune Response Articles from Brightsurf:

Boosting chickens' own immune response could curb disease
Broiler chicken producers the world over are all too familiar with coccidiosis, a parasite-borne intestinal disease that stalls growth and winnows flocks.

Cells sacrifice themselves to boost immune response to viruses
Whether flu or coronavirus, it can take several days for the body to ramp up an effective response to a viral infection.

Children's immune response more effective against COVID-19
Children and adults exhibit distinct immune system responses to infection by the virus that causes COVID-19, a finding that helps explain why COVID-19 outcomes tend to be much worse in adults, researchers from Yale and Albert Einstein College of Medicine report Sept.

Which immune response could cause a vaccine against COVID-19?
Immune reactions caused by vaccination can help protect the organism, or sometimes may aggravate the condition.

Obesity may alter immune system response to COVID-19
Obesity may cause a hyperactive immune system response to COVID-19 infection that makes it difficult to fight off the virus, according to a new manuscript published in the Endocrine Society's journal, Endocrinology.

Immune response to Sars-Cov-2 following organ transplantation
Even patients with suppressed immune systems can achieve a strong immune response to Sars-Cov-2.

'Relaxed' T cells critical to immune response
Rice University researchers model the role of relaxation time as T cells bind to invaders or imposters, and how their ability to differentiate between the two triggers the body's immune system.

A novel mechanism that triggers a cellular immune response
Researchers at Baylor College of Medicine present comprehensive evidence that supports a novel trigger for a cell-mediated response and propose a mechanism for its action.

Platelets exacerbate immune response
Platelets not only play a key role in blood clotting, but can also significantly intensify inflammatory processes.

How to boost immune response to vaccines in older people
Identifying interventions that improve vaccine efficacy in older persons is vital to deliver healthy ageing for an ageing population.

Read More: Immune Response News and Immune Response Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.