The Slovenia Times

Slovenian Researchers in Breakthrough on Autoimmune Disease


Researchers have for some time disagreed upon what triggers special receptors in the body, resulting in inflammation without a direct external cause. Roman Jerala of the institute explained to the STA that the study concluded that the common trigger of auto-inflammatory disease was oxidative stress.

The discovery opens the door to research aimed at blocking these receptors and thus helping to treat such diseases.

The extensive study that looked at rheumatoid arthritis, whose results are published in the Science Signalling publication, was conducted by researchers at the Institute of Chemistry, the UKC Ljubljana hospital and the AKH hospital from Vienna.

The human immune system is activated when it detects an "intruder", such as a bacterial infection. But sometimes it is also activated when there is no infection at all.

Similar activity occurs with the toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4), which prompts various responses by the body if it is activated because of infection or because of the oxidative stress, during which oxygen radicals are produced that further produce oxidized lipids.

The latter in turn trigger the activation of certain genes used in tissue regeneration.

The TLR4 plays a significant role in numerous diseases, ranging from rheumatoid arthritis, atherosclerosis, neuropathic pain and even cancer.

Oxidative stress represents a state where a balance between free radicals - highly reactive oxygen-containing molecules - and the body's antioxidation mechanisms has been destroyed.


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