Lupus disease (systemic lupus erythematosus), estimated in 1.5 million patients in the United States alone, is a typical autoimmune disease. Autoimmunity means that the immune system to defend against external intrusions is attacking your body.
However, the autoimmune disease is more than 9 times greater than that of men, and the gender deviation is large. Lupus disease, which causes inflammation in the skin, joints, kidneys and lungs, is common in young women of childbearing age.
It is likely that some of the reasons why women are more vulnerable to autoimmune diseases than men, which have long been a mystery in the medical community, are likely to be revealed. Scientists at Michigan State University have discovered a "molecular switch" in the skin of mice that controls immune response genes and causes autoimmune diseases.
The faculty announced on its website (www.eurekalert.org) in a press release yesterday that a research team led by professor of dermatology Professor Joon Gudingon published an article in the journal "JCI Insight."
In a broad sense, the molecular switches refer to the phosphorylation and dephosphorylation of the protein. GTP binding proteins were converted into active or inactive forms, resulting in the concept of monitoring and signaling the reaction.
VGLL3 is what we call molecular switch. It was discovered three years ago by another research team at the same university that there is much of that protein in the skin of women than men.
A new finding is that excess VGLL3 in skin cells can cause the immune system to become hypersensitive, leading to autoimmune disease. In addition, it has been discovered that the resulting immune response attacks other organs of the body beyond the skin.
"VGLL3, which controls the immune response gene, is unlikely to be affected by sex hormones," said Gudionon. "Excessive expression of VGLL3 in the skin resulted in systemic lupus erythematosus, kidney damage and so on."
In fact, excess VGLL3 in skin cells has altered the expression of several important genes for the immune system, and many of these genes have also changed in autoimmune diseases.
The skin of mice with altered gene expression due to excessive peeled VGLL3 with scales. Immune cells filled the skin and lymph glands and grew long enough to survive. These mice also had antibodies that attack their bodies, including the same antibodies that destroy kidney tissue in patients with lupus.
What is causing more VGLL3 in the skin of women and what activates VGLL3 is still unclear. Scientists, however, know that the same pathway VGLL3 acts on women with male lupus.
Currently, lupus disease treatments, such as steroids, are heavily used, from infection to cancer, and there are many side effects. The research team hopes that finding a major action of VGLL3 will lead to the development of a less safe and less effective side effect drug.
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