In collaboration with international collaborators, biochemists at Christian-Albrechts-Universitaet in Kiel have identified messenger interleukin-27, a signalling molecule in the immune system, which plays an important role when the human body blocks inflammations.
The human immune system reacts to injuries and infections with inflammation. This is important for the healing process, but can result in harmful effects if it becomes chronic. Inflammation is triggered by messengers such as the cytokine interleukin-6 (IL-6).
“We observed that another cytokine, interleukin-27, can counteract this effect,” says Joachim Grötzinger, from the Institute of Biochemistry at Kiel University. “IL-27 latches on to the same receptors as IL-6 and thus inhibits the inflammatory reaction.”
The Kiel biochemists have been studying IL-6 for over 20 years and one of them, Stefan Rose-John said, “We hope that these fundamental findings will one day be able to help in treating chronic inflammatory diseases.”
ReferencesA role for IL-27p28 as an antagonist of gp130-mediated signalling
Stumhofer, J.S. et al.
Nature Immunology 2010