General, Research, Technology

Scientists have found a “switch” due to which inflammatory diseases develop

None of the processes occurring in ourthe body does not happen on its own. It has long been proven that for any reaction or response to a particular irritation, a number of substances are responsible, which for simplicity are referred to as “switches”. And just recently, a group of researchers from Trinity College (Dublin, Ireland) discovered a similar mechanism for inflammatory diseases.

Now we know a little more about immunity

What is inflammation?

To begin, let's figure out what isinflammation and why does our body need it. In this case, you should not think that inflammation is always very bad. Because, in fact, this is a protective mechanism that allows us to adapt. Inflammation is a complex process that occurs in response to damage of both a mechanical nature and through exposure to pathogens such as toxins or waste products of bacteria or viruses. Inflammation is aimed at eliminating "harmful" products, and if possible, damage agents.

However, in a number of conditions, inflammation is simply notable to completely overcome what caused tissue damage. And then this protective mechanism will only create additional, so to speak, “difficulties” for the whole organism as a whole. Do you want to stay up to date and get the latest news from the world of science and high technology? Subscribe to us in Telegram!

See also: Found a way to use the immune system for tissue regeneration

Returning to the current study. According to the website of Trinity College, scientists from this institution found the main metabolic “switch” for inflammatory diseases. The research team found that in this process the main role is given to a protein called “PKM2”. Moreover, he participates both locally - in the development of the inflammatory response, and generally regulates the work of several types of immune cells. In particular, two types of cells are involved - Th17 and Th1 cells, which are responsible for the development of autoimmune reactions.

Th17 and Th1 cells are very important for the occurrenceresponse that occurs with the development of autoimmune diseases. For example, in diseases such as psoriasis or multiple sclerosis. We found that interfering with PKM2 blocks Th17 and Th1 cells and limits inflammation. - Lead authors of the work, Dr. Stefano Angiari and Professor Luke O’Neill, say. PKM2 is an amazing protein that plays an important role in how cells use glucose for energy, but it also "works out" in the immune system, where we never expected to see it, much less learn that it is for immunity and inflammation is extremely important.

Schematic principle of the "switch" of inflammatory reactions

Experts are currently exploring the possibilitycreating therapeutic agents for influencing the PKM2 protein. In this case, there may be several options - either “binding” PKM2 before it begins its work inside the body, or reducing its production by affecting the cells of the immune system that participate in its creation.

However, each approach may have negativeconsequences, because, as already mentioned, PKM2 plays a role in glucose metabolism (and this is the main energy component of our body that helps us live). Therefore, it is necessary to intervene in the work of PKM2 in such a way as not to upset the balance of other systems of our body.