Reining in Macrophages

Macrophage activity is thought to play a key role in Alzheimer’s
and some other neurodegenerative diseases, such as ALS, as well as in autoimmune
disorders. The mechanisms that regulate macrophages could, therefore, be an important
target for drug development. In tomorrow’s Science, Robert M. Hoek and colleagues
at DNAX Research Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biology in Palo Alto, California,
report that the protein CD200 functions as an inhibitor of macrophages. The researchers
created CD200 knockout mice and found that the animals had increased numbers of
activated macrophage-lineage cells. The animals had augmented responses to peripheral
nerve damage and to mouse versions of multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis,
both of which are considered to be autoimmune disorders. The evidence points to
CD200 as an important molecule that reins in macrophages during trauma and inflammation.-June Kinoshita.

Reference:Hoek RM, Ruuls SR, Murphy CA, Zurawski SM, Blom B, Homola ME, Sedgwick JD, Wright GJ, Goddard R, Brown MH, Barclay A Neil. Down-regulation of the macrophage lineage through interaction
with OX2 (CD200). Science 2000 December 1. Abstract

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