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New Therapeutic Approach for Autoimmune and Inflammatory Diseases

approaches with retinoic acid. In one model, they injected the mice with retinoic acid, essentially giving them more of the substance than they would have through normal body processes. This suppressed the formation of pro-inflammatory T cells in the intestines of the mice, demonstrating that increases in retinoic acid reduced inflammation.

In another approach, designed to test how reducing retinoic acid would affect inflammation, the team used an inhibitor to block retinoic acid in the mice. This led to the decrease of anti-inflammatory T cells, showing that reducing retinoic acid increased inflammation.

In a third, particularly exciting approach, the scientists treated T cells with retinoic acid in a test tube. When put back into the mice, these T cells prevented the formation of inflammatory T cells in the mice. This is especially noteworthy because combining the retinoic acid and T cells outside the body may avoid possible side effects that are more likely when scientists attempt to manipulate body processes internally.

We found that you can control inflammation in a living animal with retinoic acid or you can treat cells with retinoic acid in a test tube and transfer them to the organism to suppress inflammation in vivo, said Dr. Cheroutre. This may offer an important new avenue for treatment of autoimmune diseases like colitis and rheumatoid arthritis or other inflammatory diseases, as well as potentially providing a mechanism for the control of graft rejections, where you dont want the immune system to attack the grafted tissue.


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