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SCIENTIFIC PUBLICATIONS BY ALR FUNDED RESEARCHERS

Regulation of TLR Responses as a Mechanism for ITGAM Association with SLE

Hamerman, Jessica A., PhD

Benaroya Research Insitute at Virginia Mason

We know that several genes are associated with the risk of developing lupus. One of those genes is called the ITGAM gene, and three variants, or mutations, in this gene have been specifically linked with an increased risk of lupus. This gene encodes for a protein found on the surface of white blood cells called macrophages. The protein helps control the amount of inflammatory proteins that macrophages release when fighting an infection. 

With their grant, Dr. Hamerman and her team plan to investigate whether the ITGAM protein produced from lupus-related ITGAM genes have a defect in their ability to regulate inflammation and, if so, if this defect is a potential mechanism for the increased risk of disease. To address this question, they plan to examine mouse macrophages that do not express ITGAM and compare their inflammatory response to normal mouse macrophages. They will also express the variants of ITGAM associated with human SLE in mouse macrophages and measure how these variants affect the magnitude of the inflammatory response. 

What this study means for people with lupus: These studies may help define one mechanism by which ITGAM variants increase susceptibility to SLE, paving the way for new targeted therapies.


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