Our Bimal Desai, PhD, has discovered an electrical switch within a certain type of immune cell that could let us treat inflammatory diseases including inflammation of the brain, as seen in Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s, for the first time.
What he found was that this switch, called an ion channel, controls the flow of calcium into immune cells called macrophages. Block the calcium entering through this ion channel and you can stop the inflammation. This could be useful not just against inflammation such as seen in arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease but also chronic inflammation seen in cardiovascular diseases and in the brain, where most biological drugs can’t reach.
His team was able to make this discovery because of something rather rare in immunology labs: the additional ability to do both electrophysiology – the study of the flow of electrical currents in cells and tissues – and calcium imaging in living cells.
“Both techniques are fairly sophisticated and require a great deal of experience to do right,” said Dr. Desai, of the Department of Pharmacology. “You are dealing with complex equipment, you have to have a good understanding of imaging, optics and biophysics. The training required is in order of years and it requires a significant amount of time to get good at it. The physical setup is not easily established, so if an immunologist comes across an ion channel in their area of disease they’re interested in, they can’t just say, ‘OK, we’ll start doing that in the lab.’ That depth of technical talent is a big help when it comes to research like this.”
Because Dr. Desai’s lab can do both electrophysiology and calcium imaging in immune cells, he gets requests from immunologists all over – so many he can’t keep up. “These are skill sets that are now heavily courted throughout the nation” he said.
He noted that there is a shortage of expertise in electrophysiology in general. UVA is fortunate to have several expert electrophysiologists, such as Douglas Bayliss and Julius Zhu, two outstanding neuroscientists in the Department of Pharmacology.
We’re lucky to have such technical abilities, and we’re also lucky to have great expertise in the white-hot field of neuroimmunology, which studies the interaction of the nervous system and the immune system. You may recall that our Dr. Jonathan Kipnis, PhD, made the astounding discovery that the brain is connected to the immune system by vessels long thought not to exist.
“UVA is very strong in neuroimmunology, with Dr. Kipnis and BIG [our Center for Brain Immunology and Glia],” Desai said. “So I think we sit at a great juncture in history where we have the right technical expertise to move forward but also an environment here to do ground-breaking neuroimmunology that is tremendously strong.”
The Latest on: Inflammation
via Google News
The Latest on: Inflammation
- New study explains how inflammation causes gastric cancer on April 17, 2019 at 6:15 am
In 1982, researchers reported a link between chronic gastritis and stomach bacterium Helicobacter pylori, triggering a flurry of research into this newly identified pathogen. These studies made it ... […]
- Can purple corn reduce inflammation, diabetes? on April 17, 2019 at 4:10 am
Eating a healthful diet is a cornerstone of the prevention and management of type 2 diabetes. Fruit, nonstarchy vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes are all on the list of foods that the ... […]
- This gene could reduce inflammation after stroke on April 17, 2019 at 4:00 am
Researchers have found that a gene could help the brain heal itself after a stroke or any other head-related injuries. The study, published in Cell Reports, suggested that a dose of the TRIM9 gene ... […]
- Effects of rikkunshito on renal fibrosis and inflammation in angiotensin II-infused mice on April 17, 2019 at 2:24 am
The underlying pathogenesis of chronic kidney disease involves an activated renin-angiotensin system and systemic inflammation which ultimately develop renal injury. Rikkunshito (RKT) has been ... […]
- Major vault protein suppresses obesity and atherosclerosis through inhibiting IKK–NF-κB signaling mediated inflammation on April 17, 2019 at 2:22 am
Macrophage-orchestrated, low-grade chronic inflammation plays a pivotal role in obesity and atherogenesis. However, the underlying regulatory mechanisms remain incompletely understood. Here, we ... […]
- Japanese researchers explain how inflammation causes gastric tumors on April 16, 2019 at 2:23 pm
In 1982, researchers reported a link between chronic gastritis and stomach bacterium Helicobacter pylori, triggering a flurry of research into this newly-identified pathogen. These studies made it ... […]
- Exercise Cuts Brain Inflammation in First-Episode Psychosis on April 16, 2019 at 9:24 am
ORLANDO, Florida — Aerobic exercise reduces brain inflammation in patients with first-episode psychosis (FEP), early research suggests. In a study involving 25 outpatients newly diagnosed with ... […]
- How inflammation causes gastric cancer on April 16, 2019 at 6:49 am
Researchers have solved the decades-old mystery of how stomach bacterium Helicobacter pylori causes gastric cancer. Using mouse models and human cancer cell lines, they showed that inflammation ... […]
- Phenols in purple corn fight diabetes, obesity, inflammation in mouse cells on April 16, 2019 at 6:32 am
Scientists at the University of Illinois have developed new hybrids of purple corn containing different combinations of phytochemicals that may fight obesity, inflammation and diabetes, a new study in ... […]
- Study: Phenols in purple corn fight diabetes, obesity, inflammation in mouse cells on April 15, 2019 at 9:45 am
Scientists at the University of Illinois have developed new hybrids of purple corn containing different combinations of phytochemicals that may fight obesity, inflammation and diabetes, a new ... […]
via Bing News