Mouse Study Points Way to Shut Down Harmful Immune Response in Lupus

Contact: Sarah Avery Phone: 919-660-1306 Email:sarah.avery@duke.eduhttps://www.dukehealth.orgFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE on Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2016DURHAM, N.C. – Molecules that scavenge debris from dying cells appear to halt the cycle of chronic inflammation in lupus, while also enhancing the body’s ability to combat flu, according to Duke Health studies in mice.The molecules, called polymers, have commonly been used in gene-transfer experiments because they bind to the nucleic acid in DNA and RNA. When deployed directly in mice with lupus or an acute flu infection, the polymers home in on the DNA and RNA refuse from dying cells, halting the damaging immune attack.“This debris left by dead cells can mistakenly signal to the body that there is an infection that warrants immune action, triggering the innate immune system,” saidBruce A. Sullenger, Ph.D., director of the Duke Translational Research Institute. Sullenger is senior author of a study published online this week in theProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.  “By selectively targeting the source of the immune activation rather than shutting off the innate immune system downstream, these nucleic acid scavengers are able to limit pathological inflammation without compromising one’s ability to fight a viral infection,” Sullenger said.Pathological inflammation, a major cause of illness and death around the world, is a hallmark of autoimmune diseases, including lupus and dia...
Source: DukeHealth.org: Duke Health Features - Category: Pediatrics Tags: Duke Medicine Source Type: news

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