"We have shown that multiple sclerosis and lupus are associated with similar changes in bone marrow stem cell maturation. We are convinced that the absence of such changes distinguishes healthy mice from animals with autoimmune diseases," says George Nevinsky of the Institute of Chemical Biology. and basic medicine SB RAS in Novosibirsk.
A human being and many other living creatures are struck by a whole series of serious diseases, the development of which is not caused by microbes or viruses, but by disturbances in the immune system, causing the cells to attack the healthy tissues of the body. These diseases include multiple sclerosis, lupus, type 1 diabetes and arthritis.
Why all these diseases arise, scientists do not yet know – there are about the same reasons to believe that they can be a rare consequence of common infections, as well as the product of certain disruptions in the work of genes and mutations in them.
According to the press service of the Russian Science Foundation, Nevinsky and his colleagues have taken a major step to reveal the causes of the occurrence of two similar diseases at the same time and to investigate how particular "hybrids" of antibodies and enzymes work. of the body.
These molecules, the so-called abzymes, were originally regarded as completely artificial structures, which have no analogues in nature. Later immunologists discovered that similar molecules are present in the body of multiple sclerosis and lupus carriers, as well as victims of HIV and hepatitis.
Scientists have long debated what exactly these catalytic antibodies do, where they come from, whether they help fight infection or not, whether they accelerate the development of autoimmune diseases or, on the contrary, prevent their occurrence.
Russian biochemists have answered most of these questions, looking at how the composition of the blood changes and how similar molecules develop in the body of two types of mice susceptible to developing lupus and multiple sclerosis.
These observations showed that abysses were indeed associated with the development of both diseases, but their immunity began to constantly attack the membranes of brain cells and connective tissue in all other organs, only after specific changes in the work of the genes of their main source – the bone marrow stem cells.
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These cells, as the scientists explain, play a key role in the work of the blood-forming organs and turn into one of the six types of "blanks" of blood cells. Violations in the work of the genes that control such transformations, as Nevinsky and his colleagues discovered, force similar stem cells to produce large numbers of abzymes.
When these cells collide with fragments of neuronal envelope proteins or other molecules that the immune system usually does not correctly recognize when lupus develops, they begin to produce antibodies that attack and dissolve these substances.
In case there are no violations in their "growth program", these bodies produce 30-70 times fewer antibodies than stem cells from sick people. For this reason, as scientists conclude, even a massive "attack" by fragments of neuronal shells, as evidenced by further experiments, does not lead to the development of multiple sclerosis in healthy rodents.