Navigation Links
T cells making brain chemicals may lead to better treatments for inflammation, autoimmune diseases
Date:9/16/2011

MANHASSET, NY -- Scientists have identified a surprising new role for a new type of T cell in the immune system: some of them can be activated by nerves to make a neurotransmitter (acetylcholine) that blocks inflammation. The discovery of these T cells is novel and suggests that it may be possible to treat inflammation and autoimmune diseases by targeting the nerves and the T cells. The study was published this week in Science.

"The discovery that 2 percent of T cells can make acetylcholine under the control of nerves gives a new insight into how the nervous system regulates immunity," said Kevin J. Tracey, MD, president and chief executive officer of The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, and principal investigator of the study. "The arrival of electrical signals from nerves activates these specialized T cells to produce the acetylcholine necessary to block inflammation, and protect against damage. It is possible to transfer these cells to cross-protect mice from inflammation, and to control these T cells by electrically stimulating the nerves directly."

The present study followed years of work from Dr. Tracey's lab that identified the role of the vagus nerve, named for its wandering course from the base of the brain to the liver, spleen and other organs, in blocking inflammation. Applying electrodes to stimulate the vagus nerve blocked the release of tumor necrosis factor (TNF) and other cytokines that underlie the tissue damage in arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease and other syndromes. Stimulating this nerve pathway led to increased production of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that binds to the alpha 7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor. Activating this receptor on macrophages blocked the release of immune molecules (the cytokines,) suggesting a novel strategy for developing anti-inflammatory agents.

But these results raised an important question because the nerve fibers in spleen release norepinephrine, another neurotransmitter, but not acetylcholine. The search for the cells that produce acetylcholine led these investigators to use "nude" mice, devoid of T cells. Then they examined the spleen cells that make acetylcholine and that led them to a subset of T cells. Transferring these acetylcholine producing T-cells into nude mice restored the vagus nerve circuit that blocked inflammation.

"Our results point to a population of acetylcholine-synthesizing memory T cells in spleen that is integral to the function of the inflammatory reflex, the nerve circuit that regulates inflammation and immunity," said Dr. Tracey. "It is as if these T cells occupy a nerve-like function in this important circuit."

It should be possible to target these T cells and to modulate this neural circuitry to develop therapeutic modalities for inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. In the future, it may be possible to isolate these T cells and exploit their anti-inflammatory activity. In the meantime, there is a more direct route to use this discovery for therapy. Rheumatoid arthritis patients in Europe are being studied in clinical trials where vagus nerve stimulators are implanted and turned on to stimulate this circuit and suppress inflammation.


'/>"/>

Contact: Jamie Talan
jtalan@nshs.edu
516-465-8314
North Shore-Long Island Jewish (LIJ) Health System
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Starving cancer cells of cholesterol might offer a new way to treat brain tumors
2. Cancer-killing cells are caught on film in more 3-D detail than ever before
3. Yale researchers use uterine stem cells to treat diabetes
4. Freeze and desist: Disabling cardiac cells that can cause arrhythmia
5. Key signal that prompts production of insulin-producing beta cells points way toward diabetes cure
6. Starving inflammatory immune cells slows damage caused by multiple sclerosis
7. Researchers successfully perform first injection of cultured red blood cells in human donor
8. Scientists Use Stem Cells for Blood Self-Transfusion
9. Research aims to starve breast cancer cells
10. Specialized Adult Stem Cells Re-Grow Fingertips
11. Stop signal for leukemia stem cells
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/27/2016)... , ... May 27, 2016 , ... More than a ... it is not surprising that bariatric surgery has received increased attention in recent years, ... Of course, when it comes to weight loss, most people are familiar with the ...
(Date:5/27/2016)... ... 2016 , ... With over 60 percent of acute stroke survivors being left ... to aid in the rehabilitation process has steadily increased. Ekso Bionics had been working ... due to stroke. , Ekso Bionics has now received clearance from the U.S. Food ...
(Date:5/27/2016)... , ... May 27, 2016 , ... ... installment is bolstered by inspiring human interest stories, courtesy of leaders in the ... and tech within the industry, from leading advocates and associations—namely Jones & Bartlett ...
(Date:5/26/2016)... ... May 26, 2016 , ... There are many ways to cook a ... (NHDSC) suggests that Americans prefer their dogs straight off the grill. Of the 90 ... their favorite way to cook a hot dog, far outpacing other cooking methods such ...
(Date:5/26/2016)... ... 26, 2016 , ... Connor Sports, through its Connor Cares initiative, ... Tamika Catchings Legacy Tour that will commemorate the Indiana Fever legend’s hall-of-fame ... in all forms and levels of the game, Connor Sports has committed to a ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:5/24/2016)... 2016 The innovator of ... , s first dual therapy stent, introduces catheters ... OrbusNeich, a global company specializing in the provision ... include products to treat peripheral artery disease. The JADE™ ... devices for lower limb and arteriovenous (AV) fistula intervention. ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... , May 24, 2016 ... ™ , la première endoprothèse à ... destinés à l,intervention portant sur les membres ... OrbusNeich, entreprise mondiale spécialisée dans ... changer la vie, a élargi son portefeuille ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... Dutch surgeons have launched a ground-breaking medical app to help doctors ... a global scale. Medical professionals from Europe , ... the US have already signed up for the app, which combines ... environment. Education  "Imagine a doctor for Medicines ... at Harvard to treat a bomb victim via live streaming - ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: