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Enzyme involved in inflammatory bowel disease discovered at Penn State College of Medicine
Date:6/2/2009

the Medical College of Virginia Commonwealth University. Since then, she has studied the structure and activities of the meprins and has located the genes for the subunits in both the mouse and human chromosomes. After coming to Penn State Hershey in 1992, her studies have focused on the biomedical significance of the meprin proteases. With colleagues from the National Institutes of Health, she found a linkage between the meprin gene and vulnerability to diabetic nephropathy in Pima Indians in the southwestern United States.

"These types of transitional research that provide sound basic understanding of a disease process, coupled with detailed examination and critical interpretation of clinical findings, are dependent upon sustained collaborations based upon trust and respect," Bond said. Before this international effort, she teamed up with kidney specialists at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York and with W. Brian Reeves, M.D., at Penn State Hershey to demonstrate that meprin influences the outcome of acute renal failure in mice.

The Penn State researchers used a mouse model of IBD, replicating inflammation in the intestine like that in human ulcerative colitis. Mice lacking meprin had more severe intestinal damage after drinking a solution to induce inflammation, than did the wild-type mice that have meprin. These results indicate that meprin reduces the level of inflammation in the injured intestine.

In the mouse model, it is possible to make detailed measurements on a number of consequences of inflammation. Nitric oxide in the blood is an important host defense against bacterial infection, but its power as an oxidant also damages host tissue. A nitric oxide level in the blood of mice lacking meprin was much higher than the level in wild-type mice. The Penn State team also discovered that meprin is able to activate an inflammatory serum factor produced by white blood cells, and this factor is elevated in both the mouse mod
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Contact: Matthew G. Solovey
msolovey@hmc.psu.edu
717-531-0003 x287127
Penn State Hershey Medical Center, Penn State College of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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