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July 17, 2005

T cell 'traffic control' boosts drug hope

Topics: Medicine

U.S. scientists have begun to clarify how one of the body's molecules controls the trafficking of T cells through the blood to fight infection.

The traffic control system -- composed of a fat-like compound called S1P and its receptor on T cells -- usually prevents T cells from launching harmful reactions. But when the S1P "traffic cop" reacts incorrectly, T cells can swamp healthy tissue.

The new research explains how a promising experimental drug treats the autoimmune disease multiple sclerosis by blocking excess S1P action, said Dr. Edward Goetzl of the University of California at San Francisco and Dr. Hugh Rosen, of the Scripps Research Institute.

Additional reading (technical):

FTY720, a new class of immunomodulator, inhibits lymphocyte egress from secondary lymphoid tissues and thymus by agonistic activity at sphingosine 1-phosphate receptors.

The role of sphingosine 1-phosphate receptors in the trafficking of hematopoietic progenitor cells.

Posted by Hyscience at July 17, 2005 1:50 AM

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