Researchers from Karolinska Institutet have identified some proteins that can protect joints from inflammation. The team of researchers hope the results of their new study can possibly help cure Arthritis.
Arthritis is a part of the broader category of diseases called auto-immune diseases. Immune cells of people who have any of the auto-immune diseases behave haphazardly causing it to attack the body cells. In the case of rheumatoid arthritis, the patient’s immune system attacks the joints, causing inflammation and pain.
These researchers have found that two proteins IL-4 and IL-13 can help in preventing auto-immune attacks. Usually, these two proteins are secreted by the immune cells in the presence of allergens or parasitic infections.
It is said that these proteins have the ability to affect a certain kind of immune cells called neutrophils. Neutrophils are found in inflamed joints of rheumatoid arthritis patients. The inflammation is caused by secretion of non-specific tissue irritant by these neutrophils.
Previous research has shown that IL-4 and IL-13 proteins have an effect on neutrophils. But the exact mechanism was unclear. The new study establishes that the proteins migrate to the joint area and stimulates an increase in the surface receptors of neutrophils. This has an inhibiting effect on the inflammation.
The researchers had used CRISPR method in the study to modify the selected immune-cell genes and understand how the effect works.
“We will continue to study these mechanisms and hope that our work can contribute to the development of treatments for rheumatoid arthritis,” said principal investigator Dr Fredrik Wermeling, assistant professor at the Department of Medicine, Karolinska Institutet.
Wermeling concludes his research paper by saying, “I have high hopes that the experimental use of CRISPR will be hugely important to our understanding of how immune-cell behaviour is regulated and that this can guide us in the development of new efficacious drugs.”