How body controls inflammatory response to pathogens

New York, Dec 29 (IANS) Researchers have identified a protein that helps the body control inflammatory response triggered by invasions of microbial pathogens such as bacteria and viruses.

The findings could lead to the development of new therapeutic agents for uncontrolled inflammation.

The study describes how myeloid differentiation factor (MyD88), a protein that plays a major role in mediating host defence response against invading pathogens, is tightly regulated to prevent uncontrolled inflammation.

“Here we found for the first time that a protein called CYLD plays a critical role in controlling the pathogen-induced inflammatory response by targeting MyD88,” said one of the researchers Jian-Dong Li from Georgia State University in the US.

CYLD acts as a “brake pedal” during the body’s inflammatory response to pathogens. It turns off host defence response and prevents overactive inflammation, Li said.

While appropriate inflammatory response is critical for combatting microbial pathogens, excessive or uncontrolled inflammatory response leads to detrimental tissue damage and a variety of diseases such as septic shock, asthma, cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and ear infections. Thus, it is important to closely regulate inflammation.

This study is significant because there is an urgent need to develop novel anti-inflammatory agents to combat inflammation, and these findings could offer an alternative.

Steroids have been effective at suppressing inflammation, but if used for long-term treatment they can cause serious side effects, such as increased risk of infections, liver damage, increased blood pressure and slower wound healing.

The findings were published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

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