Inhibition of stress in cells may reduce the risk of autoimmune diseases


Scientists at the Institute of Molecular Medicine have now discovered that inhibiting stress in immune cells slows the production of a second type of cells, implicated and responsible in autoimmune diseases.

It has been possible for scientists to discover this question, thanks to experience in rats, the inhibition of stress in immune cells decreases the production of a type of cells involved in autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis.

The results of this study, which was led by Marc Veldhoen, principal investigator for iMM, were published this week in the journal Cell Reports.

This team found that the dominance of cellular stressors, such as oxygen pressure or sugar concentration, led to the control of one type of T lymphocytes (cells of the immune system) designated Th17, more resistant to other conditions Adverse effects.

The researchers were also able to reduce these values in rats, which share quite a few similarities of their physiology with that of humans. The symptoms of autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis by inhibiting cellular stress, an action leading to a decrease in the number of Th17-type T lymphocytes.

Marc Veldhoen also explained to Lusa that T lymphocytes, a variety of white blood cells “important for fighting infections”, can be activated in different ways so that they can respond adequately to various infections.

The problem, he pointed out, is that some of these modes of activation “may contribute particularly” to autoimmune diseases (diseases in which immune cells attack the body instead of defending it) such as multiple sclerosis, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis.

“When T cells are under stress due to low levels of oxygen and energy, a mode of activation is generated that may increase the risk of autoimmunity and pathology,” he said.

In the study, stress on T lymphocytes was reduced in cell cultures with decreasing drugs, such as sugars.

Subsequently, the team used genetically modified mice, in which stress levels in T cells were reduced. Rodents had symptoms that mimic multiple sclerosis.

For iMM researchers, Th17 lymphocytes may be a preferred pharmacological target for reducing stress in immune cells at sites in the body especially affected by inflammation, said Marc Veldhoen.

Thus, the number of Th17 cells can be decreased at the same time that other T lymphocyte immune responses are preserved, he emphasized.