New insight for Arthritis Sufferers: alpha defensins

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New insight for Arthritis Sufferers: alpha defensins

Recently researchers have shown that body's immune system compounds are involved to dampen the inflammation, which further reduce damage to normal tissues and turn off the immune response. This study is published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and it is funded by the Medical Research Council and Arthritis UK.

These new findings suggest that compound based therapy could aid people with rheumatoid arthritis, is a long-lasting autoimmune disorder that primarily affects joints and sepsis, a life-threatening response to infection which can lead to tissue damage caused by body's response.

Such compounds are alpha defensins, play a vital role as a first line of defence against infection, prevent the bacterial cells and certain other infectious agents from multiplying and thereby may help to reduce inflammation, but it was not clear till now how these compunds works. Researchers at the University of Edinburgh have shown that alpha defensins which are released by neutrophils when they die, are type of white blood cells. In addition to this, these neutrophil-derived alpha defensins control inflammation by inhibiting macrophage mRNA translation.

Researchers say that this initiative could lead to new ways to prevent and treat such chronic inflammatory disorders including rheumatoid arthritis and prevent an oncoming flare up in the first place."This discovery opens the door to new approaches for the treatment and prevention of chronic inflammation. We are hopeful that with further research, these treatments could be exploited in the near future." said Dr Mohini Gray, of the University's MRC Centre for Inflammation Research. According to Stephen Simpson, Director of research and programmes for Arthritis Research UK, "There are over 400,000 people living with rheumatoid arthritis in the UK, a painful and debilitating inflammatory condition which can severely impact on the way people live their lives affecting their ability to walk, sit or move.

"This study, funded by Arthritis Research UK, reveals yet another layer of the immune system's complex control system. Understanding how the immune system works both in health and disease is crucial if we are to develop new and improved treatments for inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis.

University of Edinburgh

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