Investigating how anti-inflammatory molecules are switched on in white blood cells
Disease - Rheumatoid arthritis
Lead applicant - Professor Claudia Mauri
Organisation - University College London
Type of grant - PhD Scholarship
Status of grant - Active
Amount of the original award - £154,946.56
Start date - 1 October 2016
Reference - 21257
What are the aims of this research?
The aim of this research is to discover whether a molecule within white blood cells is key to activating the cells to produce anti-inflammatory chemicals.
Why is this research important?
A type of white blood cell called B-regs help to protect and regulate the immune system by producing molecules that act against harmful immune cells. One way in which they do this is by producing an anti-inflammatory molecule that reduces swelling, called interleukin-10.
Previous research has shown that production of interleukin-10 may be switched on by another molecule called Aryl-hydrocarbon-Receptor, which is found in high quantities in B-reg cells. In people with inflammatory arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis, B-regs don't work properly resulting in reduced levels of interleukin-10 and contributing to the swelling surrounding the joints.
Understanding the role of Aryl-hydrocarbon-Receptor may therefore be key to discovering how B-regs reduce inflammation.
How will the findings benefit patients?
If the Aryl-hydrocarbon-Receptor molecule is found to directly control the release of anti-inflammatory chemicals from B-regs, it may be possible to target this molecule to develop new therapies to reduce swelling in arthritis.