The research study discovering the role that the LRH-1 protein plays in the immune system; Inhibiting this protein could help treat inflammation diseases. Immune cells prevent bacteria, parasites or viruses from entering the body when, for example, the intestinal epithelium is injured. They respond with restricted inflammatory reactions, which are controlled via various processes in the healthy organism.
When an organism suffers from Crohn’s disease, for example, the immune cells are continuously activating. The study demonstrating that the transcription factor LRH-1 playing a key role in immune cells. That this protein can actually be found in so-called T cells was already confirmed by his team several years ago. The researchers in Konstanz were now able to show that the transcription factor is responsible for ensuring that an organism’s immune defense functions properly.
LRH-1 during inflammation
An interaction between dietary and microbial-derived lipids and the immune system has been suggested for a long time. Food and microbiome derived lipids regulate host metabolism and thereby obesity, which, in turn, promotes inflammation and associated diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and cancer. A transcription factor is a protein that ensuring that a gene is transcribing and a corresponding gene product is generating.
It regulates the so-called gene expression process, which puts the gene’s information into effect. The transcription factor LRH-1 is particularly common in the intestine and liver. The elimination of LRH-1 in the epithelial cells of these organs has little effect on them, though. However, the biologists finding that the T cells, which are crucial for the immune response, hardly divide when LRH-1 is eliminating.
Control pathogens such as viruses
As the T cells having receptors; that recognize specific foreign substances. A large number of them are needing to control pathogens such as viruses; which multiply rapidly after infiltrating the body. To fight these viruses; the T cells can usually divide very quickly even faster than cancer cells but in a more controlled manner. Without the LRH-1 transcription factor, it is practically impossible to trigger immune responses. As a result, the body can no longer protect itself against pathogens.
In the process of continuously fighting either harmless bacteria or viruses, the immune system’s permanent response actually damages the organs. The overall aim is to shut down this out-of-control immune response. In fact, a pharmacological inhibitor that can specifically switch off the LRH-1 transcription factor activity already exists. A test has demonstrated that it actually blocks the T cells; thereby reducing the T cell mediated diseases.