Navigation Links
New genetic path for scleroderma
Date:3/19/2012

CHICAGO --- A genetic pathway previously known for its role in embryonic development and cancer has been identified as a target for systemic sclerosis, or scleroderma, therapy. The finding, discovered by a cross-disciplinary team led by John Varga, MD, John and Nancy Hughes Distinguished Professor of Rheumatology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, was recently published in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatism.

"We showed, for the first time, that the Wnt signaling pathway is abnormally activated in scleroderma patients," said Varga, who is also a physician at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. "This is significant for three reasons. First, it gives a better picture of scleroderma and fibrosis in general. Second, it provides a strategy for assessing disease severity, progression, and activity. And third, it opens a door for the design of treatments that aim to block the Wnt pathway and restore its normal controlled activity."

Varga's laboratory collaborated with a pulmonary team at Northwestern, along with teams at Case Western Reserve University and Dartmouth University on the discovery.

Researchers studied skin and lung biopsies from scleroderma patients and found that the Wnt pathway was 'turned on', in contrast to healthy individuals where the pathway was 'turned off.' Varga said this activation may be due to loss of Wnt inhibitors that normally serve as 'brakes' on the pathway to prevent its activation.

The team also examined what the pathway does using fibroblasts and stem cells from healthy people. They found Wnt causes fibroblast activation and blocks the development of fat cells (adipocytes), which directly contribute to scar formation and tissue damage seen in scleroderma.

Scleroderma is a chronic autoimmune disease in which the body's immune system attacks itself. It causes progressive thickening and tightening (fibrosis) of the skin and also can lead to serious internal organ damage and, in some cases, death. Scleroderma affects an estimated 150,000 people in the United States, most frequently young to middle-aged women.

"Scleroderma is a complex and poorly understood disease with no cure," said Varga. "Our findings suggest that treatments targeting the Wnt signaling pathway could lead to an effective treatment."

Varga said Northwestern researchers next plan to conduct multi-center preclinical studies to evaluate treatments that block the Wnt pathway in animal models and measure Wnt activity in additional scleroderma biopsies to see if it can be clinically useful as a biomarker.


'/>"/>

Contact: Marla Paul
marla-paul@northwestern.edu
312-503-8928
Northwestern University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Genetic research develops tools for studying diseases, improving regenerative treatment
2. First complete full genetic map of promising energy crop
3. Genetic variation in East Asians found to explain resistance to cancer drugs
4. Epigenetics and epidemiology -- hip, hype and science
5. Epigenetic signatures direct the repair potential of reprogrammed cells
6. Genetic survey of endangered Antarctic blue whales shows surprising diversity
7. A foot in the door to genetic information
8. Perception and preference may have genetic link to obesity
9. UC Santa Barbara researchers discover genetic link between visual pathways of hydras and humans
10. Will a genetic mutation cause trouble? Ask Spliceman
11. Nearby chimpanzee populations show much greater genetic diversity than distant human populations
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/26/2016)... 27, 2016 Research and ... Biometrics Market 2016-2020"  report to their offering.  , ... The analysts forecast the global multimodal biometrics ... during the period 2016-2020.  Multimodal biometrics ... such as the healthcare, BFSI, transportation, automotive, and ...
(Date:4/14/2016)... 2016 BioCatch ™, the ... announced the appointment of Eyal Goldwerger as ... Goldwerger,s leadership appointment comes at a time of ... deployment of its platform at several of the world,s ... discerns unique cognitive and physiological factors, is a winner ...
(Date:3/29/2016)... BOCA RATON, Florida , March 29, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... ("LegacyXChange" or the "Company") LegacyXChange "LEGX" and SelectaDNA/CSI Protect ... Synthetic DNA in ink used in a variety of ... preventing theft. Buyers of originally created collectibles from athletes ... authenticity through forensic analysis of the DNA. ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/27/2016)... ... , ... Doctors in Italy, Japan, the UK and the US have reached ... gene and its link to malignant mesothelioma. Surviving Mesothelioma has just posted the details ... now. , The studies analyzed for the new report included more than 3,447 ...
(Date:5/26/2016)... , May 26, 2016  Agriculture nutrients are in ... Moines, Iowa is running their nitrate removal ... Lake Erie and coastal regions nationwide are ... preventing this widespread issue. NECi Superior Enzymes, ... Upper Peninsula, developed a new, easy to use device ...
(Date:5/26/2016)... Despite the volatility that continues to envelop the ... research on ActiveWallSt.com directs the investor community,s focus on the ... ), Cerus Corp. (NASDAQ: CERS ), Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals ... Inc. (NASDAQ: FPRX ). Register with us today ... On Wednesday, shares in Massachusetts ...
(Date:5/26/2016)... ... 26, 2016 , ... FireflySci has been manufacturing quartz and ... over the globe. Their cute firefly logo has been spreading to more and ... spectrophotometer calibration standards that never require recalibration. These revolutionary standards have changed ...
Breaking Biology Technology: