Tolerogenic Dendritic Cells in Human Lupus
Specialized cells known as plasmacytoid dendritic cells (PDCs), that typically help regulate the immune system, also trigger autoimmune disease when they are activated in lupus. Though many studies have identified factors that increase the inflammation caused by these cells, very little is known about proteins called negative regulators that suppress the activation of PDCs in lupus. Dr. Niewold’s team plans to study two important negative regulators that decrease PDC activation in lupus patients. Crucially, their research will reveal information about how naturally existing molecules suppress PDC activity; this unique and groundbreaking insight could facilitate novel therapies that leverage this natural suppressive capacity.
What this study means for people with lupus
Dr. Niewold’s research aims to identify ways to reduce the numbers of specialized cells called PDCs known to cause inflammation in lupus. Understanding how PDC production is reduced naturally will inform development of new treatments that can suppress these disease-causing cells.