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

RCSI researchers have found a new way to curb excessive inflammation by regulating a type of white blood cell that is vital to our immune systems.

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

The paper, led by researchers from the RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences, is published in Nature Communications.

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

Researchers found that a protein called arginase-2 works through the energy source of macrophage cells known as mitochondria to limit inflammation. In particular, they showed for the first time that arginase-2 is critical in reducing a potent inflammatory cytokine called IL-1.

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

“Excessive inflammation is a prominent feature of many diseases such as multiple sclerosis, arthritis, and inflammatory bowel disease. Through our discovery, we may develop novel therapeutics to treat inflammatory diseases and ultimately improve the quality of life for people with these conditions,” commented senior author of the paper Dr . Claire McCoy, Lecturer in Immunology at RCSI.

The study was led by researchers from the School 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 the Science Foundation Ireland. The initial research phases come from a grant from the National Health Medical Research Council, Australia.

New research shows how the body clock controls inflammation

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

Provided by RCSI

Quote: Researchers discover a new way to stop excessive inflammation (2021, March 5), accessed March 5, 2021 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-03-halt-excessive-inflammation.html

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