The following is a description of a study from one of the many researchers that our organization has funded.

Th17 cell pathway may lead to new therapeutic targets

Sujata Sarkar, Ph.D.
University of Arizona
Tucson, Arizona
Frances D. Morongo Memorial Fellow

Characterization of pathogenic Th17 responses in collagen induced arthritis

Recent research in immunology has shown the integral role of a particular type of immune cell in mediating autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, and psoriasis. This cell is called the Th17 cell, as it secretes the molecule IL-17. IL-17 protects the body from infections and can also mediate inflammation of target tissues often seen with autoimmune diseases.

The Th17 cell can also secrete other molecules besides IL-17. With the support of ANRF funding last year, Dr. Sarkar has identified other molecules that are produced by the Th17 cell in the context of inflammatory arthritis, all of which have the potential of augmenting joint inflammation. She is currently identifying functional characteristics of the Th17 cell.

With the second year of funding from ANRF, Dr. Sarkar will be identifying the triggers within the immune system that lead to the generation and maintenance of the Th17 cell during inflammatory arthritis. The findings from the proposed studies will identify new targets in inflammatory arthritis pertaining to the Th17 pathway and will also lay the foundation for comparing the characteristics of this response to other Th17 associated diseases, such as psoriasis.

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