These are diseases such as psoriasis, arthritis, multiple sclerosis and intestinal diseasesThe Technion researchers discovered a subgroup of cells that suppress diseases, which is within a group of cells that cause an inflammatory process, mainly in diseases such as psoriasis, arthritis, multiple sclerosis and intestinal diseases. The study was published in The American Journal of Pathology.
"In inflammatory autoimmune diseases there is an inflammatory process, in which T cells recognize a self-component and attack it," explains the researcher, Professor Natan Kerin from the Rappaport Research Institute and Faculty of Medicine at the Technion. "In multiple sclerosis, for example, T cells think of the myelin protein that makes up the nervous system as an enemy, attack it and destroy it."
In T cells, the researchers distinguish two groups - the effectors, which are the ones that cause the inflammatory process, and those that try to prevent it from them - the regulators. Multiple sclerosis has its ups and downs, depending on the strength of each group. When the effectors are strengthened - there is an aggravation of the disease, and when the regulators are strengthened - the patient enjoys a period of relatively good health. Researchers around the world are therefore trying to find ways to strengthen the regulators.
So far, two types of effectors have been discovered. One of them, which has been known for twenty years, is called 1TH. About seven years ago, another type was discovered - TH17, which is considered the "engine" that drives the entire system.
Technion researchers discovered, in fact, the subpopulation of regulatory cells that controls the activity of TH17 cells. Their study showed that an increase in the activity of TH17 cells is conditioned by the programmed death of the regulatory cells that visit them. This discovery may have practical consequences, since increasing the activity of the cells discovered by the Technion researchers will enable a more effective treatment of autoimmune diseases.