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Research Yields Clues to Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis

Cellular targets could lead to treatments, scientists say

THURSDAY, Aug. 31, 2006 (HealthDay News) -- Scientists say they've spotted potential new cellular targets for treating lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune disorders.

In research with mice, Japanese scientists found that blood platelet function plays an important role in an autoimmune kidney disease called crescentic glomerulonenephritis.

Their study, published in the September issue of the journal Arthritis & Rheumatism, also sheds light on the involvement of BLOC-1, which controls lysosomes, tiny organelles that contain digestive enzymes needed to maintain healthy cells function.

"The profound role of BLOC-1 appears to be platelet-specific among immuno-inflammatory cell types. BLOC-1 is a possible therapeutic target for suppression of platelet functions without compromising physiologic immune responses," said researchers at Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine.

In another study, Finnish scientists identified a new type of adhesion molecule (amine oxidase, copper containing 3 - AOC3) that's highly expressed on vessels of inflamed human joint tissue.

AOC3, also called vascular adhesion protein 1, spurs inflammation by interfering with the infiltration of leukocytes (white blood cells) into rheumatoid joints, the study authors said.

More information

The U.S. National Women's Health Information Center has more about autoimmune diseases.

SOURCE: John Wiley & Sons Inc., news release, Aug 31. 2006
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