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Researchers identify how body clock affects inflammation

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Posted November 8, 2013
Researchers identify how body clock affects inflammation
Th17 cells in the intestine. This paper shows that the development of these cells is regulated by the circadian clock. Frozen intestinal sections were stained with anti-CD4-fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC) and anti-RORγt-phycoerythrin (PE) to identify Th17 cells. A differential interference contrast image of the same field was overlaid with the fluorescence image to locate Th17 cells, which were then highlighted by pseudocoloring in Photoshop. Credit: Xiaofei Yu, Shipra Vaishnava and Yuhao Wang
UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers report that disrupting the light-dark cycle of mice increased their susceptibility to inflammatory disease, indicating that the production of a key immune cell is controlled by the body’s circadian clock.

 

The study published in the Nov. 8 edition of Science identifies a previously hidden pathway by which the body’s circadian clock controls the numbers of key inflammatory cells called interleukin-17-producing CD4+ T helper cells (TH17). The work could lead to new ways to rev up the body’s immune response to infection or dampen that response in the case of autoimmune diseases in which the body attacks its own tissues, said senior author Dr. Lora Hooper, Professor of Immunology and Microbiology and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Investigator.

Co-authors include Neuroscience Chair and HHMI Investigator Dr. Joseph Takahashi, whose discovery of the mouse and human clock genes led to a description of a conserved circadian clock mechanism in animals. The lead author is Xiaofei Yu, an Immunology student in the UT Southwestern Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences.

Read more at: MedicalXpress

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