Researchers Have Found New Way to Hinder Excessive Inflammation

Researchers from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland have found another way to halt excessive inflammation. The method works by regulating a particular type of white blood cells that are crucial for the immune system in the human body. The researchers’ findings could potentially protect an individual’s body from the unhampered damage that is brought about by inflammatory ailments.

The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Medicine and Health Sciences, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (“RCSI”), was reported in “Nature Communications” journal.

The researchers explained that when the immune cells in an individual’s body known as macrophages are exposed to strong infectious agents, potent inflammatory proteins called cytokines are released by the body to fight the infection. However, if the body’s cytokine levels become imbalanced, it can result in significant damage to tissues in the body.

The researchers also discovered that a protein known as Arginase-2 worked through the mitochondria, which is the macrophage cells’ energy source, and is sometimes referred to as the cells powerhouse, to control inflammation. For the first time, the researchers demonstrated that Arginase-2 was essential in reducing a strong inflammatory cytokine known as IL-10.

This finding could allow scientists to develop novel treatments that protect an individual’s body from unhampered damaged brought about by inflammatory ailments and target the Arginase-2 protein.

A senior lecturer in immunology at RCSI, Dr. Clair McCoy, who was also senior author of the study, noted that excessive inflammation is a notable feature of various ailments, including inflammatory bowel diseases, arthritis and multiple sclerosis. She explained that the study’s findings could be used by researchers to develop new therapies for the treatment of inflammatory diseases, which, she added, would in the long run improve the quality of life for individuals living with these ailments.

The researchers who led the study were from the RCSI School of Pharmacy and biomolecular sciences — Dr. Jennifer Dowling, Dr. Clair McCoy and Miss. Remsha Afzal — in partnership with a group of international researchers from Switzerland, Germany and Australia. Other researchers involved in the study include Glenn R. Bantug, Daniel J. Gough, Katja Dettmer, Nadine Assmann, Chiara De Santi, Gavin M. Davis, Stephanie Annett, Mariana P. Cervantes-Silva and Linden J. Gearing, among others.

Additionally, the research was financed by the Science Foundation Ireland, with preliminary stages of the study coming from a grant awarded by the Australian National Health Medical Research Council.

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