Researchers managed to change the immune system — replacing inflammation with immune tolerance — in a mouse model of multiple sclerosis (MS) using so-called quantum dots, or nano-sized particles carrying pieces of myelin.
Experiments with this advanced technological solution may help researchers design MS therapies that are based on promoting regulatory T-cells rather than suppressing those that cause inflammation.
Regulatory T-cells are capable of controlling the inflammatory response against myelin that occurs in MS (myelin is the protective cover surrounding neurons), while keeping the health-promoting work of the immune system intact.
“Engineering technologies aimed at autoimmune disease could pave the way for new treatment options,” Christopher Jewell, an assistant professor at the Fischell Department of Bioengineering at the University of Maryland and principal investigator on the study, said in a press release.
“However, in order to develop next-generation therapies, bioengineers need basic insight into the specific features that are critical to therapy design,” Jewell added.
The study, “Engineering Immunological Tolerance Using Quantum Dots to Tune the Density of Self-Antigen Display,” showed that processes that drive inflammation or immune tolerance are influenced by the concentration and form of antigens.
Antigens are tiny pieces of proteins, displayed as flags on the surface of all cells. The immune system uses these flags to distinguish between self and non-self cells or structures. When a foreign antigen, like bacteria or a virus, is spotted, an immune reaction ensues. But in MS, the immune system mistakenly reacts to myelin antigens.
With MS as with other autoimmune diseases, researchers are still searching for the reason why the immune system makes this mistake.
We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!
Let us improve this post!
Tell us how we can improve this post?