A New Study
A recent study published in Nature Immunology and conducted by researchers at the University of Basel has produced influential results regarding primary immunodeficiency disorders (PID). These rare disorders increases patients’ susceptibility to infection.
This team of researchers believed that metabolic activity of immune cells could be used as a type of biomarker for PID. This is because cellular metabolism regulates immune cells.
Utilizing this hypothesis, they moved forward with the study.
This research team found that in a subset of PID patients, cellular respiration within the immune cells was increased. This was due to the hyperactivity of a single protein. This protein, located within the respiratory chain, was signaling to the immune cells that they needed to produce inflammatory mediators. In other words, the overactivity of metabolism in the cells led to inflammation for this subset of patients.
With this knowledge regarding inflammation, the research team administered a treatment to this subset of patients that is approved for a different indication.
What it Means for the Future
The researchers hope that this work will lead to PID patients receiving a more personalized treatment approach. In turn, this means fewer side effects, more effective therapies, and better outcomes.
They also believe that this type of examination could be used to provide insights on more common illnesses. The more we understand about biological processes, the better we can serve all patient populations.
Too much of a good thing: overactive immune cells trigger inflammation [press release]. University of Basel website. Published September 16, 2019. https://www.unibas.ch/en/News-Events/News/Uni-Research/Too-much-of-a-good-thing–overactive-immune-cells-trigger-inflammation.html. Accessed October 10, 2019.
You can read more about this study here.