2009 Dendritic Cells, Why the Lupus Immune System Reacts to Its Own DNA
Molecular control of self-DNA recognition in lupus
In lupus, the body’s immune system mounts an abnormal response to DNA, the otherwise harmless genetic instruction material we each carry with us. Watchdog cells of the immune system called “dendritic cells” oversee this recognition of DNA.
Dr. Reizis hypothesizes that in lupus, a unique protein in these watchdog dendritic cells regulates this ability to recognize DNA. As a result, this protein may determine whether the immune system would react to DNA of its own cells, and mount an attack.
By testing this hypothesis both in the test tube and in lupus-bred animals, Dr. Reizis seeks to uncover new treatment approaches to blocking the misguided and terribly damaging attack on one’s own genetic material in lupus.