About My Health Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us
Medindia LOGIN REGISTER
Advertisement

Scientists Identify Protein That Stimulates Production of T-cells

by Rajashri on July 24, 2008 at 3:47 PM
Font : A-A+

 Scientists Identify Protein That Stimulates Production of T-cells

Canadian and Finnish researchers have identified a protein called Wnt4, which can stimulate the production of T-cells, the white blood cells that recognise and kill infectious agents.

With Wnt4, it will now be possible to combat age-related decline in immune response, thanks to the work of Dr. Claude Perreault and his team of researchers at the Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer (IRIC) at the Université de Montreal in Canada and the University of Oulu in Finland.

Advertisement

One of the most obvious signs of the age-related decline of the immune system is the atrophy of the thymus, a small gland at the base of the neck where T cells mature. This decline becomes significant towards the age of 50. It is caused not only by a decreased output of T cells from the thymus, but also by a decreased ability to recognize new antigens. The result is an increased susceptibility to infection as well as a lowered resistance to the immunosuppressive effects of chemotherapy.

"Thymic atrophy is a major public health problem. It compromises the efficacy of vaccination and weakens the resistance to common viruses, for instance to the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), which is responsible each year for the hospitalization of more than 150,000 people in the U.S. This is due to the fact that ''old'' T cells are not equipped to face the threat of new foreign bodies, whether they are viruses or tumours," said Dr. Perreault.
Advertisement

The researchers induced overproduction of the Wnt4 protein in the cells of the mouse immune system and saw the stimulatory effect this protein exerts on the development of white blood cells.

By using molecular markers that are specific to the different stages of cell maturation, the researchers determined that elevated levels of Wnt4 led to a marked increase in the number of white blood cell progenitors, and of immature T cells in the thymus in particular.

On the other hand, they found that deletion of the Wnt4 gene and lack of the corresponding protein was linked with a decrease in the number of T cell progenitors in the thymus.

After showing that Wnt4 could stimulate thymopoiesis, the name given to the production of T cells in the thymus, researchers wanted to understand the mode of action of the protein.

Isabelle Louis, a graduate student, and Dr. Krista Heinonen, a postdoctoral fellow, analyzed the changes in gene activity triggered by exposure to Wnt4 and found that the results were conclusive: Wnt4 increases the number of T cell progenitors by inducing the expression of genes involved in cell survival.

IRIC researchers also showed that Wnt4 does not mediate these changes in gene expression through the intracellular pathway normally activated by members of the Wnt family, i.e. stabilization of a signalling protein called -catenin, but rather through an alternative pathway involving members of the JNK family of proteins.

Now the researchers are investigating ways to capitalize on its discovery to develop new therapeutic agents.

The study is published in the latest edition of the journal Immunity.




Source: ANI
RAS/S
Advertisement

Advertisement
News A-Z
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
News Category
What's New on Medindia
Health Benefits of Giloy
Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2021 - It's time to RISE
First-Ever Successful Pig-To-Human Kidney Transplantation
View all

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Diet and Nutrition Tips for Athletes 

Recommended Reading
AIDS/HIV
"AIDS is an epidemic disease, a potentially preventable, deadly infection for which there is no ......
Know The Urinary System - Animation
Interactive section of Medindia gives general information about Male Urinary System....
No More Antibiotics for Minor Illnesses, Coughs and Colds in UK
Patients suffering from minor illnesses such as coughs, colds and ear infections can no longer hope ...
Have a Peck on the Cheek to Avoid Infections
A new study has revealed that a peck on the cheek is healthier than the conventional handshake....
Diet and Nutrition Tips for Athletes
Athletes can be physically fit by consuming a well balanced nutritious diet, which keeps them mental...

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2021

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use