Researchers discover a new way to stop excessive inflammation

RCSI researchers discover a new way to stop excessive inflammation

Dr. Claire McCoy, Senior Lecturer in Immunology at RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences. Credit: Patrick Bolger

RCSI researchers have discovered a new way to “slow down” excessive inflammation by regulating a type of white blood cell that is critical to our immune system.

The discovery has the potential to protect the body from uncontrolled damage caused by inflammatory diseases.

The article, directed by researchers from the University of Medicine and Health Sciences RCSI, is published in Communications from nature.

When the immune cells (white blood cells) in our bodies, called macrophages, are exposed to powerful infectious agents, powerful inflammatory proteins known as cytokines are produced to fight the invading infection. However, if these cytokine levels get out of control, significant tissue damage can occur.

Researchers have discovered that a protein called Arginase-2 acts through the energy source of macrophage cells, known as mitochondria, to limit inflammation. Specifically, they have shown for the first time that arginase-2 is essential in decreasing a potent inflammatory cytokine called IL-1.

This discovery could allow researchers to develop new treatments that target the protein Arginase-2 and protect the body from uncontrolled damage caused by inflammatory diseases.

“Excessive inflammation is a prominent feature of many diseases such as multiple sclerosis, arthritis, and inflammatory bowel diseases. Through our discovery, we can develop new therapies for the treatment of inflammatory diseases and ultimately improve the quality life span of people with these conditions, “said the article’s lead author, Dr. Claire McCoy, senior professor of immunology at RCSI.

The study was led by researchers from the College of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences, RCSI (Dr. Claire McCoy, Dr. Jennifer Dowling, and Ms. Remsha Afzal) in collaboration with a network of international researchers from Australia, Germany, and Switzerland.

The research was funded by Science Foundation Ireland, and the initial stages of the research originated from a grant from the National Health Medical Research Council, Australia.

New research reveals how the body clock controls inflammation

More information:
Communications from nature (2021). DOI: 10.1038 / s41467-021-21617-2

Provided by RCSI

Citation: Researchers Discover New Way to Stop Excessive Inflammation (2021, March 5) Retrieved March 5, 2021 from

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