Professor Hudson Freeze, Ph.D., director of Burnham's glycobiology and carbohydrate chemistry program, together with staff scientist Geetha Srikrishna, Ph.D., and other colleagues found that a naturally "tweaked" sugar chain normally present on white blood cells and intestinal cells plays a role in inflammation. In addition, the team found that an antibody produced in reaction to the sugar's presence curbed intestinal inflammation induced in mice. These findings will be published in the October 15th edition of Journal of Immunology.
"We looked at a number of sugar-binding molecules that may have had a role in inflammation," said Freeze. "One of the sugar chains elicited an antibody response, so we wondered whether the antibody would be able to block inflammation in mice. If so, this could have implications for inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn's, and also might help combat other autoimmune inflammatory diseases, like arthritis."
The team identified a modified version of very common sugars known as N-linked glycans, which are found on the surface of white blood cells, as well as normal colon cells. These sugars are also found in colon tissue of patients suffering from Crohn's disease.
The antibody was tested in a mouse model for Crohn's disease created by transferring white blood cells with the capacity to induce severe intestinal inflammation into mice with compromised immune systems. "When administered 10 days after disease onset, the antibody was able to reverse early symptoms of inflammation and halt further progress of diseas
Contact: Nancy Beddingfield