Could such antibody-based treatments be useful against some autoimmune diseases and asthma?
Newfound details of the immune system suggest a role for never-before-considered drug classes in the treatment of allergic and autoimmune diseases, according to a University of Alabama at Birmingham study published online May 27 in Nature Immunology.
The results advance the current understanding of the way the body’s initial, vague reaction to any invading organism expands into a precise and massive counterattack. That expansion starts when a dendritic cell “swallows” a piece of any invader encountered, ferries it to the nearest lymph node and presents it there for notice by lymphocytes, the workhorse cells of the immune system.
According to the current model, dendritic cells first must encounter T lymphocytes in the paracortex, or T cell zone, within the node. Only there will the interaction enable lymphocytes to expand into an army of clones primed to attack the invader.
To the research team’s great surprise, the data showed that, although immune response works this way during viral flu infections, it is not always the case. When the body is infested with parasitic worms, for instance, dendritic cells link with T cells near B lymphocytes, under the control of B cell-related signals and outside the T cell zone.
“Considering that diseases from asthma to lupus can occur because the system mistakenly ramps up the same types of T cell responses it normally uses against worms, our finding that B lymphocytes control the T cell/dendritic cell interactions that trigger such responses has important, practical implications,” said Frances Lund, Ph.D., chair of the UAB School of Medicine’s Department of Microbiology and corresponding author. “The field now has cause to look at several experimental and existing drugs known to interrupt B cell signals as potential treatments for diseases driven by T cells.”
via Science Daily
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