Arginine depletion could form the basis for potential rheumatoid arthritis therapies

Jan 23 2020

A group from the MedUni Vienna has identified a role for the endogenous amino acid arginine in the growth of osteoclasts in rheumatoid arthritis. Restricting the amount of available arginine significantly restricts excessive formation of these harmful, disease promoting cells. These findings, which were recently published in the leading journal Nature Communications, could form the basis for potential new therapeutic approaches.

Arginine depletion could form the basis for potential rheumatoid arthritis therapies

Rheumatoid arthritis is a common inflammatory joint disease. A feature of this disease is the increased fusion of endogenous immune cells (macrophages) to form so-called osteoclasts, which attack and break down bone tissue.

Holistic Approaches to Psoriasis Treatment

An interview with Prof. Chris Griffiths, OBE MD FRCP FMedSci

What is psoriasis and how does it develop?

Psoriasis is a chronic immune mediated inflammatory disease, which affects the skin. It occurs in about 2 per cent of the UK population and affects at least 60 million people around the world.[1],[2]

The disease manifests as red, heavily scaled plaques, which are raised patches, anywhere on the skin. The most common involved sites are the scalp and the extensor aspects of the elbows, knees, and the lower back.

Image credits: Hriana | Shutterstock

Ultrasound could help reduce the use of drugs for patients with rheumatoid arthritis

Jan 20 2020

A research group led by the physician Christian Dejaco is investigating circumstances under which patients may stop taking medication for rheumatoid arthritis without running the risk of the disease flaring up again.

Ultrasound could help reduce the use of drugs for patients with rheumatoid arthritis

Ultrasound could help to reduce the use of drugs in the therapy of rheumatoid arthritis. Credit: Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

Researchers visualize molecular organization of TNFα receptor molecules

Whether a sick cell dies, divides, or travels through the body is regulated by a sophisticat-ed interplay of signal molecules and receptors on the cell membrane. One of the most im-portant molecular cues in the immune system is Tumour Necrosis Factor α (TNFα).

Now, for the first time, researchers from Goethe University have visualised the molecular organization of individual TNFα receptor molecules and the binding of TNFα to the cell mem-brane in cells using optical microscopy.

Before TNFα can bind to a membrane receptor, the TNFR receptor must first be activated. By doing so, the key will only fit the lock under certain circumstances and prevents, among other things, that a healthy cell dies from programmed cell death.

A new autoinflammatory disease called CRIA syndrome discovered

Over the last 20 years, three families have been unknowingly linked to one another by an unknown illness. Researchers at the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) and other organizations have now identified the cause of the illness, a new disease called CRIA syndrome. The results of their work were published in the journal Nature.

Discovering a new disease

NHGRI scientific director Daniel Kastner, M.D., Ph.D., a pioneer in the field of auto-inflammatory diseases, and his team, had never seen a condition like this one. Symptoms include fevers, swollen lymph nodes, severe abdominal pain, gastrointestinal problems, headaches and, in some cases, abnormally enlarged spleen and liver.

Study: Certain steps can improve pregnancy outcomes in women with rheumatoid arthritis

Jan 8 2020

For women with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), taking certain steps to ensure that they have a healthy pregnancy leads to a reduced risk of complicated birth or miscarriage, according to a study in Arthritis Care & Research.

The study included 443 women with RA and 6,097 women in the general population. In the RA population, patients who followed an “ideal clinical pathway” that included certain medical tests, therapies, and prenatal follow-up had a 40% lower risk of complicated birth or miscarriage compared with those who did not.

Certain cancer drugs could be used in the future to treat COPD

New research has shown the potential for clinically available cancer treatments to treat chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Scientists from the University of Sheffield have been investigating the effect of drugs used to treat a variety of cancers on this inflammatory response; the main driver of lung damage in people living with COPD.

COPD slowly develops over many years – often patients are not aware they have it until their 40s or 50s – and for the 1.2 million people in the UK who have been diagnosed, it makes breathing progressively more difficult.

What would happen if the ACA went away?

Any day now, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans could rule the entire Affordable Care Act unconstitutional.

At least it seemed that two of the three appeals court judges were leaning that way during oral arguments in the case, State of Texas v. USA, in July.

Trump administration health officials have said they will continue to enforce the health law pending a final ruling from the Supreme Court. But that is not a guarantee that President Donald Trump won’t change his mind. That’s what he did in 2017 in canceling some payments to health insurers.

UAB seminar on the extraordinary science of the immune system

“The human immune system makes my head explode,” Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Matt Richtel recently told a University of Alabama at Birmingham freshman seminar on immunology. “This is by far the hardest subject I have ever had to explore.”

Richtel, a longtime New York Times reporter, was explaining why he wrote his general interest book “An Elegant Defense -; The Extraordinary New Science of the Immune System,” which the class was reading.

Richtel’s curiosity began when his boyhood buddy Jason Greenstein, “the best kind of jock,” got cancer in his 40s.

Skip the sweet treats to avoid holiday blues, study suggests

If you’re prone to depression, this holiday season you might want to say “bah humbug” to offers of sugar plum pudding, caramel corn and chocolate babka.

A new study from a team of clinical psychologists at the University of Kansas suggests eating added sugars – common in so many holiday foods – can trigger metabolic, inflammatory and neurobiological processes tied to depressive illness. The work is published in the journal Medical Hypotheses.

Coupled with dwindling light in wintertime and corresponding changes in sleep patterns, high sugar consumption could result in a “perfect storm” that adversely affects mental health, according to the researchers.