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Findings link disease specific anitbodies to activation of T cells for the first time

Torrance, Calif. (January 25, 2002) - Harbor-UCLA Research & Education Institute (REI) announced new findings indicating that antibodies specific to Graves disease bind to cell surface receptors. These are distinct from thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) receptors. This interaction leads to activation of key genes and T cell activation. It is believed that antibody/receptor complex initiates a cascade of events culminating in T cell activities and thyroid growth. This research, conducted by principal REI investigator Terry J. Smith, MD and collaborators at Boston University School of Medicine, Boston was published recently in The Journal of Immunology, 168:942-950,2002.

What is exciting about these findings is that now, for the first time, we can tie together pathogenic antibodies in Graves disease with T cell activation, said Dr. Smith, Chief, Division of Molecular Medicine, Department of Medicine at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. This holds promise for future research to learn how to turn off the expression, thereby eradicating the disease state. Graves disease is often associated with profound metabolic derangements and potentially site-threatening changes in the tissues around the eye, he added.

Dr. Smith and his collaborator, William Cruikshank, PhD at Boston University School of Medicine have been studying the pathogenesis of inflammation associated with many conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis, Graves disease, and lupus. This research group has recently identified a number of potential pathways that may be utilized by lymphocyte derived cytokines in driving the tissue remodeling that occurs in Graves disease. Dr. Smith and his associates have found that fibroblasts from the orbital connective tissue (eye area) differ from fibroblasts found in other parts of the body. The orbital fibroblasts appear to be particularly susceptible to inflammatory reactions. Fibroblasts are highly specialized cells and react differentl
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Contact: Barbara T. Kerr
bkerr@rei.edu
310-222-2820
Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center (LA BioMed)
24-Jan-2002


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