A key player in the immune response is T follicular helper cells. These Tfh cells are essential in vaccination responses, but they can be harmful actors in an autoimmune disease like lupus.
Now, a preclinical study published in Science Immunology shows how the interplay of two interleukin signaling proteins, IL-6 and IL-2, affects the development of Tfh cells. This interplay may either maintain or disrupt the balancing act of the immune system. Thus, the research may help guide future disease treatment.
Findings - Implications - André - Ballesteros-Tato - PhD
"We believe these findings have important therapeutic implications," said André Ballesteros-Tato, Ph.D., associate professor in the University of Alabama at Birmingham Department of Medicine's Division of Clinical Immunology and Rheumatology and leader of the research.
"For example, it is well-known that abnormal expansion of Tfh cells correlates with disease severity in systemic lupus erythematosus patients. Unfortunately, there are currently no therapies to selectively deplete Tfh cells in vivo. Based on our data, it is tempting to speculate that blockade of IL-6 with IL-6-neutralizing antibodies -- in combination with recombinant IL-2 administration -- will synergize to efficiently prevent Tfh cell responses in autoimmune patients, thereby avoiding the production of self-reactive antibodies."
IL-6-neutralizing - Antibodies - IL-2 - Food - Drug
Both IL-6-neutralizing antibodies and recombinant IL-2 are Food and Drug Administration-approved drugs.
"The findings in this study are quite exciting," said S. Louis Bridges, Jr., M.D., Ph.D., director of the UAB Division of Clinical Immunology and Rheumatology. "Both IL-6 and IL-2 are key molecules in immune responses and autoimmune diseases. This research helps to elucidate the complex interactions of these cytokines and how they influence Tfh cells. The novel findings in this paper may ultimately lead to better ways to treat diseases such as lupus."
Development - Tfh - Cells - Place - Way
Development of Tfh cells takes place this way -- Tfh cells react with antigens presented outside of B cell follicles in the lymph nodes or spleen. The activated Tfh cells...
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