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New Target in Autoimmune Diseases Identified

Posted on Jan. 22, 2014, 6 a.m. in Autoimmune Arthritis Inflammation

Researchers explore the mechanism by which a protein known as TL1A triggers inflammation to result in autoimmune diseases from arthritis to inflammatory bowel d

Inflammation is a necessary process by which the human body takes steps to repair and recover over an infection. However, chronic inflammation is an overreaction is that can result in autoimmune diseases such as arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, and psoriasis.   Kirsten Reichwald, from the University of Copenhagen (Denmark), and colleagues have investigated a protein known as TL1A, thought to be associated with autoimmune diseases but for the mechanism of action has remained unclear. The researchers determined that TL1A, in conjunction with other immune system cells known as interleukins (IL-12, IL-15 and IL-18), directly induces the production of IL-6 and TNF-[alpha] from leukocytes. The team also observed that the transcription factor PLZF was induced in stimulated cells. Submitting that: "These results offer a substantial explanation for the role of TL1A, since TNF-[alpha] and IL-6 are directly responsible for much of the inflammatory state in many autoimmune diseases,” the study authors propose that: "Our study suggests that TL1A is a possible target for the treatment of autoimmune diseases.”

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Kirsten Reichwald, Tina Z. Jorgensen, Peter Tougaard, Soren Skov. “T L1A Induces TCR Independent IL-6 and TNF-[alpha] Production and Growth of PLZF+ Leukocytes.”  PLOS ONE, 8 Jan 2014.

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