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U of Texas researchers makes strides in learning how to control inflammation in autoimmune diseases

Scientists may better understand how to control the immune system more precisely, according to a University of Texas at Austin announcement.
In autoimmune diseases, the immune system goes into overdrive in response to people's own DNA being released from damaged cells—a reaction that causes inflammation in the body, the announcement states.
 
Until recently, the molecular processes behind that immune response have not been fully understood, but a new study could help change that, according to the article.
 
A collaborative team including researchers from UT Austin's Department of Biomedical Engineering has discovered that anti-microbial peptides (AMP) such as LL37 molecules, which are found in the immune system, play an unexpected role in revving up the body's self-defense response, according to the article. The finding, published in Nature Communications, may help scientists better understand how to control the immune system more precisely.
 
Pengyu Ren, a professor of biomedical engineering, and Changsheng Zhang a postdoctoral researcher working in Ren's lab (now working at Peking University), contributed advanced modeling techniques to help researchers better understand how LL37 molecules control toll-like-receptors in autoimmune response. Ren is a BMES member.

LL37 molecules kill bacteria and strengthen immune response by working together with toll-like protein receptors that act as early warning sensors that detect foreign entities.

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