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Two molecules work together to aid transport of immune cells, UT Southwestern researchers find

do not form what's called a bimolecular complex, firm adhesion does not occur.

"Our findings define a relationship between CD44 and VLA-4 that results in a cooperative system," Dr. Siegelman said. "If they aren't linked, the T-cells exhibit rolling behavior, but not firm adhesion, and, therefore, they don't move through the blood vessel wall to initiate immune or inflammatory responses."

The researchers also found that if part of the CD44 receptor is missing, the bimolecular complex does not form, inhibiting the T-cells from moving out of the bloodstream.

The research results may aid in future development of treatments for rheumatoid arthritis, for example, a condition in which T-cells travel from the bloodstream and into the space between joints, causing painful inflammation.

"One strategy for drug development might be to target CD44 or this bimolecular complex in order to prevent T-cells from getting in there and starting an inflammatory response," Dr. Siegelman said.

Other UT Southwestern researchers involved with the study are Dr. Animesh Nandi, research scientist in biochemistry, and Dr. Pila Estess, assistant professor of pathology.


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Contact: Amanda Siegfried
Amanda.siegfried@utsouthwestern.edu
214-648-3404
UT Southwestern Medical Center
20-Apr-2004


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