SYDNEY-- Australian scientists have discovered a potent molecule responsible for inflammatory diseases.
In a study published on Thursday, researchers form Melbourne's Walter and Eliza Hall Institute (WEHI) found that an inflammatory molecule released by dying cells triggers inflammation during necroptosis, a form of cell death linked to inflammatory disease.
Necroptosis is a process for protecting humans from infections by sacrificing infected or diseased cells "for the greater good."
However, if necroptosis becomes excessively activated it can trigger damaging inflammation that leads to inflammatory disease.
Lisa Lindqvist, the lead researcher, said that interleukin-1 beta (IL-1b) triggered inflammation during the cell death.
She said the discovery challenged a long-standing dogma that inflammation triggered by necroptosis was a by-product of dead cell debris.
"Our research has pinpointed that, during necroptosis, dying cells release IL-1b, a potent inflammatory signal," Lindqvist said in a media release on Thursday.
"Now that we have discovered IL-1b is the 'root' of the inflammation associated with necroptosis, we speculate that targeting this molecule could be an effective way of treating inflammatory diseases."
Researchers are optimistic that the findings suggest suppressing IL-1b would reduce inflammation associated with inflammatory diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS), liver disease and pancreatitis.
"Our research suggests that existing drugs that block IL-1b might be useful in treating these diseases," Lindqvist said.
"We are also exploring how IL-1b is signalled to be secreted during necroptosis, so that we can create new drugs to stop its release and reduce inflammation to treat inflammatory diseases."
Source: Philippines News Agency