Omega-3 Fatty Acid Stops Known Trigger of Lupus
Omega-3 Fatty Acid Stops Known Trigger of Lupus Article taken from: http://www.dddmag.com/news/2016/09/omega-3-fatty-acid-stops-known-trigger-lupus Picture taken from: http://www.dddmag.com/news/2016/09/omega-3-fatty-acid-stops-known-trigger-lupus A team of Michigan State University researchers has found that consuming an omega-3 fatty acid called DHA, or docosahexaenoic acid, can stop a known trigger of lupus and potentially other autoimmune disorders. DHA can be found in fatty, cold-water fish and is produced by the algae that fish eat and store in their bodies. It can be found in fish oil supplements as well, used by more than 30 million Americans. “What we discovered was when lupus was triggered by crystalline silica, a toxic mineral also known as quartz that’s linked to human autoimmunity, DHA blocked the activation of the disease,” said Melissa Bates, one of the study’s lead authors and a doctoral student in MSU’s Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition and the Institute of Integrative Toxicology. The findings have been published in PLOS ONE. The preclinical study looked at the effect of DHA on lupus lesions in the lungs and kidneys of female mice that were already genetically predisposed to the disease. Their results were overwhelmingly positive. “Ninety-six percent of the lung lesions were stopped with DHA after being triggered by the silica,” said Jack Harkema, another study author and pulmonary pathologist. “I’ve never seen such a dramatic protective response in the lung before.” Lupus is considered a genetic disease and is triggered not only by inhaling crystalline silica toxicants, but also by other environmental factors such as sun exposure. Quartz is the most common, and most dangerous, form of crystalline silica and is often found in the agriculture, construction and mining industries where workers can breathe in the mineral dust. “Lupus is the body’s immune system attacking itself and it can damage any part of the body including skin, joints and organs,” said James Pestka, a University Distinguished Professor of food science and human nutrition, who also co-led the research with Bates and Harkema. Although it’s still unknown exactly why DHA is able to prevent the onset of lupus, the researchers said this study provides scientists with a better model for looking at just how much DHA is needed to ward off the environmental trigger of the disease. “Cells in the lung can gobble up the silica, but it’s so toxic, it kills these cells,” Harkema said. “When they die, signals are sent out to the immune system that something is wrong. The body then produces such a strong response that it also starts to target healthy cells.” According to Harkema, the DHA could be changing the way these cells, also known as macrophages, react to the silica in the lungs and somehow alter the immune system’s response. “Our next step is to figure out exactly what’s happening,” he said. One theory is the DHA helps cells send an anti-inflammatory signal to the body so it doesn’t overcompensate and trigger an autoimmune response. Another thought is somehow the DHA allows the cells to swallow up and remove the toxic silica from the lung without dying, preventing any inflammatory signals from being sent. “What we do know is this study is a clear indication that eating DHA can prevent this one type of environmental triggering of lupus,” Pestka said. “It can suppress many of the disease’s signaling pathways, which current drugs on the market now try to target and treat.” The National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences and the Lupus Foundation of America funded the research. Source: http://www.dddmag.com/news/2016/09/omega-3-fatty-acid-stops-known-trigger-lupus Date: 09/30/2016
Painkillers Linked to Heart Failure
Painkillers Linked to Heart Failure Article taken from: http://www.biosciencetechnology.com/news/2016/09/painkillers-linked-heart-failure Picture taken from: http://www.biosciencetechnology.com/news/2016/09/painkillers-linked-heart-failure Widely used prescription and non-prescription painkillers are associated with an increased risk of hospital admission for heart failure, according to a study released Thursday. The drugs in question are so-called NSAIDs, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, including several known as COX-2 inhibitors. Many are among the most commonly used drugs to alleviate pain and inflammation, and some were introduced over a century ago with minimal safety checks. The broad link between the use of NSAIDs and heart failure is well established, but which drugs pose the greatest risk, and at what doses, remains poorly understood. To get a clearer picture, a team of researchers led by Giovanni Corrao at the University of Milano-Bicocca combed through the medical records of nearly 10 million NSAID users in four European countries: Germany, Britain, the Netherlands and Italy. They identified 92,163 hospital admissions for heart failure and then checked to see which of 27 drugs—and at what doses—each of them was taking. Overall, they found that current use of NSAID slightly raised the risk of hospital admission compared to past use for nine drugs. These included diclofenac, ibuprofen, indomethacin, ketorolac, naproxen, nimesulide, and piroxicam, along with two COX 2 inhibitors, etoricoxib and rofecoxib. At very high doses, some doubled the risk of hospital admission. The researchers emphasised that the study was observational, meaning that it did not benefit from the controlled conditions of an experiment and thus could not draw firm conclusions about cause and effect. But the findings “offer further evidence that the most frequently used individual NSAIDs and selective COX2 inhibitors are associated with an increased risk of hospital admissions,” they concluded. The study was published in BMJ, a leading medical journal. “Even a small increase in cardiovascular risk is a concern for public health,” two Danish heart experts, Gunnar Gislason and Christian Torp-Pedersen, wrote in a comment, also in BMJ. For one drug in particular—diclofenac—the European Society of Cardiology has recommended against its use at any dose, they noted. Helen Williams, a consultant pharmacist for cardiovascular disease at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society in Britain, noted that the country’s National Health Service had been “moving away” from the powerful NSAIDs in recent years. “Reassuringly,” she added, “use of the most commonly purchased NSAID—ibuprofen—was associated with a lower overall increased risk” compared to the other medicines, she added in a comment released by the Science Media Centre. Source: http://www.biosciencetechnology.com/news/2016/09/painkillers-linked-heart-failure Date: 09/29/2016
Broadly Neutralizing HIV Antibodies Pave the Way for Vaccine
Broadly Neutralizing HIV Antibodies Pave the Way for Vaccine Article taken from: http://www.dddmag.com/news/2016/09/broadly-neutralizing-hiv-antibodies-pave-way-vaccine http://www.dddmag.com/news/2016/09/broadly-neutralizing-hiv-antibodies-pave-way-vaccine A small number of people infected with HIV produce antibodies with an amazing effect: Not only are the antibodies directed against the own virus strain, but also against different sub-types of HIV that circulate worldwide. Researchers from the University of Zurich and University Hospital Zurich now reveal which factors are responsible for the human body forming such broadly neutralizing HIV antibodies, thereby opening new avenues for the development of an HIV vaccine. We know from HIV research that around one percent of people infected with HIV form antibodies that combat different virus strains. These broadly neutralizing HIV antibodies (bnAbs) bind to structures on the surface of the virus which barely change and are identical in different viral strains. Dubbed “spikes”, these sugar and protein complexes are the only surface structures that stem from the HIV virus itself and can be attacked by the immune system via antibodies. Due to their broad impact, these antibodies constitute a promising cornerstone for the development of an effective vaccine against HIV. Virus load, virus diversity and duration of infection encourage antibody formation A Switzerland-wide team of researchers headed by the University of Zurich and University Hospital Zurich conducted an extensive study on the factors responsible for the formation of broadly neutralizing antibodies against HIV. They examined around 4,500 people infected with HIV who are recorded in the Swiss HIV Cohort Study and the Zurich Primary HIV Infection Study, and identified 239 people who form such antibodies. Firstly, three disease-specific characteristics are important: the number of viruses present in the body, the diversity of the virus types found and the duration of an untreated HIV infection. “Our study enabled us to show for the first time that each of these three parameters – virus load, virus diversity and infection duration – influences the development of broadly neutralizing antibodies independently of each other,” explains Huldrych Günthard, professor of clinical infectious diseases at UZH. “So we don’t necessarily have to consider all three parameters in designing an HIV vaccine. This is especially important with regard to the length of vaccine administration – it wouldn’t be possible to imitate a longer untreated HIV infection with a vaccine.” Black people form broadly neutralizing HIV antibodies more frequently A second factor concerns ethnicity: Black HIV patients form broadly neutralizing antibodies more frequently than white people – irrespective of the other factors analyzed in the study. For Alexandra Trkola, a professor of medical virology at UZH, this surprising discovery needs to be studied more closely: “First of all, we need to understand more precisely what significance and impact the genetic, geographical and socio-economic factors of people from different ethnicities have on the formation of these antibodies.” Different virus sub-types influence the antibodies’ binding site The third factor involves the influence of the virus sub-type on antibody formation. While the frequency of the antibody production remains unaffected, the researchers showed that the virus sub-type has a strong influence on the antibody type formed. Sub-type B HIV viruses are more likely to lead to the production of antibodies directed against the region of the virus surface through which it binds to human immune cells (CD4 binding site). By contrast, non sub-type B virus favor the production of antibodies which bind to a sugar element of the virus spikes (V2 glycan). Specific structural features on the virus shell thus affect the antibodies’ binding specificity depending on the virus sub-type. “Our results show how different factors boost the formation of antibodies that broadly combat different viral strains,” concludes Trkola. “This will pave the way for us to systematically push ahead with the development of an effective vaccine against HIV.” Source: http://www.dddmag.com/news/2016/09/broadly-neutralizing-hiv-antibodies-pave-way-vaccine Date: 28/09/2016
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