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New Regulatory Blood Cells Combat Brain Inflammation

Update Date: Feb 18, 2014 09:30 AM EST

Hyperactivity in the immune system causes a state of inflammation and if its chronic, these inflammation will affect our body. In a recent research, a new type of regulatory blood cells have been identified that can fight such hyperactive T-Cell - hyperactivity of immune cells. 

Researchers were able to decrease the level of brain inflammation and disease by regulating the blood cells. 

"We knew that some unidentified blood cells were able to inhibit multiple sclerosis-like disease in mice and through gene analysis we found out, that these cells are a subset of our lymphocytes expressing the gene FoxA1. Importantly, when inserting FoxA1 into normal lymphocytes with gene therapy, we could change them to actively regulate inflammation and inhibit multiple sclerosis," explained associated professor Yawei Liu leading the experimental studies in a press release. 

The new blood cells were the part of the white blood cells called lymphocytes. The cell expressed a molecule called FoxA1 which were found to responsible for the cells' development and suppressive functions in the study. 

Lymphocytes that were expressed by FoxA1 were not known earlier and the findings are the first documentation of their importance in maintaing a control on multiple sclerosis.

"From a therapeutic viewpoint, our findings are really interesting and we hope that they can help finding new treatment options for patients not benefiting from existing drugs, especially more chronic and progressive multiple sclerosis patients. In our model, we could activate lymphocytes by chemical stimulation and gene therapy, and we are curios whether this can be a new treatment strategy", said professor Shohreh Issazadeh-Navikas in the press release. 

The findings of the study are published in the Nature Medicine. 

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