Navigation Links
UCLA study uncovers clues for why Graves' disease attacks the eyes

UCLA researchers have uncovered new clues that may explain why Graves?disease (GD) attacks the muscle tissue behind the eyes, often causing them to bulge painfully from their sockets, as in the late actor Marty Feldman.

Scientists at UCLA’s Jules Stein Eye Institute and Harbor-UCLA Medical Center discovered defects in the infection-fighting T-cells of GD patients?immune systems. Reported March 1 in the Journal of Immunology, their study may deepen understanding of how the autoimmune disorder damages the body and offer a new target for treating the disfiguring disease.

Earlier research found that GD patients?immune systems produce an antibody that other people do not. Not recognizing the patient’s thyroid as "self," the antibody mistakenly mounts an attack against the organ, causing inflammation and damage to the body, including eye tissue.

In the current study, UCLA researchers discovered that T-cells taken from GD patients contain an abnormal surplus of the receptor targeted by this antibody. An antibody must latch to a specific receptor ?like a key into a lock -- in order to elicit a cellular response. The receptors mobbed the patients?immune systems, even on T-cells that normally would not produce them.

"We didn’t know why GD patients?cells created a new antibody, but had a hunch that that it sprang from an immune abnormality," explained Dr. Raymond Douglas, first author and assistant professor of ophthalmology at the Jules Stein Eye Institute. "Because T-cells are the generals of the immune system and lead the attack in any immune response, we assumed that they played a key role in this antibody’s development."

The team tested GD patients?blood for the antibody and compared their findings to samples from healthy people, with about 100 subjects in each group. The new antibody was found in almost all of the GD patients?blood.

The new antibody binds to the excess receptors on the T-cells, mimic king the actions of a hormone called IGF-1, or insulin-like growth factor 1. Similar to insulin, IGF-1 stimulates cell growth while suppressing normal cell death. The team suspects that this mechanism prolongs the survival of older T-cells, causing a cascade of autoimmune problems that spur the body to attack its own tissue.

"We think that the extra receptors allow the new antibody and IGF-1 to disrupt the programming of the T-cells," said principal investigator Dr. Terry Smith, professor of medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine and chief of molecular medicine at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center.

"The antibody provokes the receptor to signal the T-cell to grow and multiply ?long after the cell was programmed to die," he explained. "After two or three generations of this process, we suspect that the high-jacked T-cells mutiny over the normal T-cells, sparking the body’s immune reaction against itself."

The next step is to identify what the T-cells are reacting to and how the receptor enables the cells to survive beyond their normal lifespan. The team plans to develop an antibody drug to block the receptor from interacting with the T-cells and slow down the disease.

In Graves?disease, the thyroid gland goes into overdrive, producing excess levels of hormone that attack the tissue behind the eye, causing them to protrude. In extreme cases, patients experience trouble closing their eyelids, severe double vision, corneal scarring, optic nerve damage and even blindness.

Graves?disease is nine times more common in women than men. The disorder most often strikes during the childbearing years, and runs an average course of one to two years. No cure exists, though surgery can be done at the end stage to correct disfigurement.

Source:University of California - Los Angeles

Related biology news :

1. Bioartificial kidney under study at MCG
2. W.M. Keck Foundation funds study of friendly microbes
3. Yellowstone microbes fueled by hydrogen, according to U. of Colorado study
4. Genome-wide mouse study yields link to human leukemia
5. Clam embryo study shows pollutant mixture adversely affects nerve cell development
6. New imaging method gives early indication if brain cancer therapy is effective, U-M study shows
7. Same mutation aided evolution in many fish species, Stanford study finds
8. Sequencing of marine bacterium will help study of cell communication
9. Genetically modified rice in China benefits farmers health, study finds
10. A new study examines how shared pathogens affect host populations
11. NYU study reveals how brains immune system fights viral encephalitis

Post Your Comments:

(Date:6/16/2016)... June 16, 2016 The ... expected to reach USD 1.83 billion by 2024, ... Research, Inc. Technological proliferation and increasing demand in ... expected to drive the market growth. ... The development of advanced multimodal techniques for ...
(Date:6/9/2016)... Paris Police Prefecture ... solution to ensure the safety of people and operations in ... major tournament Teleste, an international technology group specialised ... today that its video security solution will be utilised by ... public safety across the country. The system roll-out is scheduled ...
(Date:6/2/2016)... The Department of Transport Management (DOTM) of ... project, for the , Supply and Delivery of ... Infrastructure , to Decatur , ... Management Solutions. Numerous renowned international vendors participated in the tendering ... selected for the most compliant and innovative solution. The contract ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... Charm Sciences, Inc. is ... has received AOAC Research Institute approval 061601. , “This is another AOAC-RI approval ... Bob Salter, Vice President of Regulatory and Industrial Affairs. “The Peel Plate methods ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... , ... STACS DNA Inc., the sample tracking software company, today announced that ... joined STACS DNA as a Field Application Specialist. , “I am thrilled that ... of STACS DNA. “In further expanding our capacity as a scientific integrator, Hays brings ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... NEW YORK , June 23, 2016 ... the trading session at 4,833.32, down 0.22%; the Dow Jones ... the S&P 500 closed at 2,085.45, down 0.17%. has ... INFI ), Nektar Therapeutics (NASDAQ: NKTR ... BIND Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: BIND ). Learn more ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 ... market research report to its pharmaceuticals section with ... product details and much more. Complete ... across 151 pages, profiling 15 companies and supported ... at . The ...
Breaking Biology Technology: