December 22, 2008
Healthy may have possible autoimmune cells
Potential autoimmunity-inducing cells have been found in healthy humans as well patients with autoimmune diseases such as lupus, U.S. researchers report.
Whether these cells are precursors to the self-attacking cells prevalent in lupus and rheumatoid arthritis remains unknown, researchers lead by J. Andrew Duty at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation reported in a news release.
teststhem to determine whether they confuse the body's own tissue for that of intruders. If so, the receptors are either rearranged to make new, non-autoreactive versions or killed while still in the marrow, researchers said. A few cells, however, slip into the body as mature B cells with a propensity for self-attack.
In their study, Duty and his researcher team pin-pointed a similar population of immunity-lacking B cells in the blood of healthy adults, accounting for 2.5 percent of B cells in the circulating blood. The potential to produce these trouble-making antibodies lead the authors to suspect that these cells may contain the precursors for the self-attacking B cells in patients with autoimmune diseases.
Their findings were reported in the latest edition of the Journal of Experimental Medicine.