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A novel mechanism that regulates pro-inflammatory cells is identified
Date:8/10/2011

NEW YORK, August 10, 2011 - New research led by Derya Unutmaz, MD associate professor, the Departments of Pathology, Medicine, and Microbiology at NYU School of Medicine and Mark Sundrud, PhD, of Tempero Pharmaceuticals, Inc., has identified a novel sensory pathway that modulates the potency of Th17 cell responses. The new research is highlighted in the August 8th online edition of the Journal of Experimental Medicine. The study has found that when memory Th17 cells are exposed to a class of secreted proteins called gamma-c cytokines (IL-2, IL-15 or IL-7), they become armed to release their potent immune mediators, which are also a family of cytokines (such as IL-17 and IL-22).

The immune system has evolved to respond to external threats such as viral and bacterial infections. However, the immune response is also tightly regulated to prevent excessive tissue damage or autoimmune diseases, resulting from a reaction produced by white blood cells or antibodies acting on the body. A subset of T lymphocytes called Th17 cells has powerful functions to sustain and mediate protective immune responses against some bacterial and fungal infections. Th17 cells are also implicated in excessive inflammatory autoimmune diseases such as psoriasis and multiple sclerosis. How Th17 cells regulate their potent immune functions has not been fully understood.

Cytokines such as IL-2 or IL-7, which share a common receptor component (called gamma-c) are released by other T cells or specialized non-lymphoid cells. This family of cytokines is critical in the development, survival, proliferation and differentiation of T cell subsets. Gamma-c cytokines activate several signaling pathways within the cells that lead to activation of transcription factors, which then turn on and off specific genes. The researchers found that gamma-c cytokines induced Th17 cell function by activating a specific pathway involving the kinases PI-3K and Akt. They further showed that t
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Contact: Christopher Rucas
christopher.Rucas@nyumc.org
212-404-3525
NYU Langone Medical Center / New York University School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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