Navigation Links
Researchers search for culprit behind dry eyes, mouths and more

Researchers want to find the main culprit behind the dry, irritated eyes, mouth, throat, skin, nose and more afflicting 1-3 percent of the population.

It's called Sjgren's syndrome, a painful condition affecting moisture production that takes an average of 6.5 years to diagnose and is difficult to treat. Georgia Health Sciences University researchers say learning more about how it develops should improve diagnosis and treatment.

"We want to identify the early events just after onset of the disease so it can be diagnosed more quickly," said Dr. Rafal Pacholczyk, immunologist in the GHSU Center for Biotechnology and Genomic Medicine. "Knowing more about how the disease unfolds also will help us identify more targeted ways to treat it."

Armed with a $1.9 million grant from the National Institutes of Health, he's using a variety of mouse models to parse how the immune system begins to attack saliva, tear and other moisture-producing glands. Sjgren's blocks receptors that activate one or more of these glands, impeding messages from the brain to make tears or saliva. Gland cells also can be destroyed. A key question is which immune cells are to blame for the friendly fire.

It's the dendritic cells that scour the body for invaders, typically taking their finds to the draining lymph nodes to show T cells. Effector T cells can then initiate an attack, such as prompting B cell production of antibodies that, in this case, block receptors and attack cells. Regulatory T cells are supposed to prevent the attack on "self" tissues that occurs in autoimmune diseases such as Sjgren's. Still unidentified genes likely increase disease risk; environmental factors such as an infection may pull the trigger.

Pacholczyk is tracking T cell development in mice that start to develop Sjgren's by 8-10 weeks of age, trying to determine what causes the cells to become harmful.

He wants to identify the T cell receptors that distinguish self from non-self in this syndrome and whether the dendritic cells really are to blame. Another group of mice missing T cells enables him to use different cell combinations such as regulatory cells from a healthy animal with effector cells from a diseased one to see which combination produces disease. Part of what Pacholczyk wants to learn is whether fault lies with the hypersensitivity of the effector T cells or the ineffectiveness of regulatory T cells to keep them in line.

"At the end it comes down to this T cell detecting some part of a protein and deciding it's not self. Now the question becomes: Is it this the fault of the T cell recognizing something incorrectly or maybe it is the fault of the presenting cell that gives information to the T cell in a bad context?

"Once we know to what extent each arm of the immune response is at fault, we can focus on the genes that are involved and see if we can find along the way biomarkers that tell us who is predisposed to the disease or what preventive measures we can use to at least slow the disease down," he said.

Sjgren's is most often is diagnosed in women in their 40s, according to the Sjgren's Research Foundation. While the tear and salivary gland problems are disease hallmarks, moisture dysfunction can cause problems throughout the body, including the gastrointestinal tract, lungs and liver in the 4 million Americans living with the syndrome, the foundation reports.

Sjgren's often coexists with other autoimmune diseases such as lupus which can cut a wider, more destructive path across the body. Current therapies include medication to increase moisture production by cells that still function. Therapy to suppress the immune response also can help, but risk unleashing a host of other medical problems, including infection and cancer. Diagnostic tests include measuring tear and saliva flow as well as detecting autoantibodies that attack the glands and a gland biopsy to detect cell destruction.


Contact: Toni Baker
Georgia Health Sciences University

Related medicine news :

1. MU researchers develop tool that saves time, eliminates mistakes in diabetes care
2. Researchers discover new way to form extracellular vesicles
3. Researchers discover Achilles heel in lethal form of prostate cancer
4. Jackson Laboratory researchers uncover steps in synapse building, pruning
5. UCLA stem cell researchers uncover mechanism that regulates human pluripotent stem cell metabolism
6. Ben-Gurion University of the Negev researchers achieve male fertility breakthrough
7. Canadian researchers find potential new leukemia treatment with old antibiotic drug
8. FDA funds Rochester researchers to give chronic and acute pain clinical trials a makeover
9. Jefferson researchers study outcomes of carotid artery stenting following prior carotid procedure
10. Researchers gain insight into 100-year-old Haber-Bbosch process
11. New funding will help researchers learn how preschoolers move, battle early child obesity
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Researchers search for culprit behind dry eyes, mouths and more
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... June 26, 2016 , ... Pixel Film Studios Released ProSlice Levels, ... editors can give their videos a whole new perspective by using the title ... Pixel Film Studios. , ProSlice Levels contains over 30 Different presets to choose ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... D.C. (PRWEB) , ... June 25, 2016 , ... ... discuss health policy issues and applications at AcademyHealth’s Annual Research Meeting June 26-28, ... their work on several important health care topics including advance care planning, healthcare ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... TX (PRWEB) , ... June 25, 2016 , ... ... the United States, named Dr. Sesan Ogunleye, as the Medical Director of its new ... the facility Medical Director of our new Mesquite location,” said Dr. James M. Muzzarelli, ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... Conventional wisdom preaches the benefits of moderation, whether ... latter, setting the bar too high can result in disappointment, perhaps even self-loathing. However, ... their goal. , Research from reveals that behind the tendency ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... ... Marcy was in a crisis. Her son James, eight, was out of control. Prone to ... , “When something upset him, he couldn’t control his emotions,” remembers Marcy. “If there ... my other children and say he was going to kill them. If we were ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016 Capricor Therapeutics, ... a biotechnology company focused on the discovery, development ... patient enrollment in its ongoing randomized HOPE-Duchenne clinical ... 50% of its 24-patient target. Capricor expects the ... quarter of 2016, and to report top line ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... INDIANAPOLIS , June 23, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... Diabetes Tomorrow,s Leaders Scholarship is any indication, the future ... today online at by the Diabetes ... stand in the way of academic and community service ... scholarship program since 2012, and continues to advocate for ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016 The vast majority of dialysis patients ... Treatments are usually 3 times a week, with treatment ... travel time, equipment preparation and wait time.  This regimen ... for patients who are elderly and frail.  Many elderly ... rehabilitation centers for some duration of time. ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: