Research highlight

Inflammation: Blocking mast cells reduces intestinal inflammation in mice

Nature Communications

September 5, 2012

Blocking the purinoceptor P2X7 with an antibody reduces intestinal inflammation in mice reports a study published in Nature Communications this week. These findings could prove useful in blocking inflammation in intestinal disorders and provides insight into the biology of inflammation associated with Crohn’s disease in humans.

Jun Kunisawa and colleagues show in mice that the activation of mast cells - a cell type involved in inflammation - can be blocked by using an antibody that binds to the purinoreceptor P2X7. Treatment of mice with the antibody reduced inflammation in a chemical model of colitis. The team found that mast cells in human Crohn’s tissue also express P2X7, suggesting that targeting this receptor may reduce inflammation in this condition also.

Whilst this study looked at the treatment of mice with colitis, with more study this strategy may be applicable to inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease in humans.

doi: 10.1038/ncomms2023

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