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A*STAR scientists discover special class of natural fats stimulates immune cells to fight diseases
Date:4/2/2012

ilarly able to activate iNKT cells, promoting their development in the thymus.

In addition, the scientists uncovered that these ether-bonded fats were the same type of fatty molecules which are produced by the peroxisome, a sub-compartment that specialises in fat metabolism, found within all cells of the body. Using a mouse strain that is lacking in the peroxisomal enzyme, and hence unable to make ether-bonded fatty molecules, the scientists found that such mice could not produce the complete repertoire of fully functional iNKT cells.

Dr Mori said, "We are very excited to have identified the type of fatty self-molecules that stimulates T cells [2]. This discovery sets a new paradigm for understanding the rules that govern development and activation of frontline immune cells of the body."

Professor De Libero added, "With fresh insights from this study, we now have new tools to explore novel therapeutic strategies for autoimmune and inflammatory diseases where such fatty molecules are key to disease development."

Scientific Director of SIgN, Professor Paola Castagnoli said, "Our focus and mission at SIgN has always been to study human immunology, in particular the underlying mechanisms of inflammatory responses in human diseases. This discovery is a breakthrough for the field of lipid immunity, a new niche area in immunology that SIgN has recently been developing. I would like to congratulate Gennaro and Lucia for this excellent piece of work that has done SIgN, A*STAR proud at the international scientific level. I am confident that with more in-depth understanding of the role of lipid [3] immunity in human diseases, we will find novel ways to cure many types of immune diseases, from autoimmune to infectious diseases, for the benefit of patients in the future"


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Contact: Dr. Sarah Chang
chang_kai_chen@a-star.edu.sg
65-682-66442
Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore
Source:Eurekalert

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