Leading the way to a cure


Role of ILT Receptors in Human Lupus

Niewold, Timothy, MD

The University of Chicago

Type I interferons are important immune system signaling molecules that normally function to defend the body against viruses. Increasing evidence suggests that overactivation of the type I interferon pathway increases the risk of developing lupus and is linked to increased disease activity in those who already have the disease.

The interferon 1 signaling pathway could be a prime target for lupus therapies. However, we don’t know enough about how the molecules are regulated in humans. Thus, Dr. Niewold and his team will use their grant to study immune system molecules called immunoglobulin-like transcripts 3 and 7 (ILT3 and ILT7). These molecules exist on the surface of immune cells, acting to turn off inflammatory immune responses. They can also reduce the production of type I interferon, something Dr. Niewold’s lab demonstrated in preliminary studies in human cells. This suggests that the ILT molecules could be useful as a target for lupus-related therapies. 

The researchers plan to identify the molecule or molecules that normally activate type 1 interferon signaling via ILT3. They will also measure ILT molecules in the blood cells of people with lupus, and determine whether ILTs are related to disease activity, clinical disease features, and/or serum type I interferon levels. Finally, they will test the function of ILT molecules in human blood cells to determine their impact upon type I interferon signaling. 

What this study means for people with lupus: Completing these studies will lead to improved understanding of the role of ILT receptors in lupus, essential knowledge for the development of therapies that target the interferon pathway

1.5 million

people in the U.S. have Lupus.

172 million

dollars committed to lupus research by the Lupus Research Alliance.

We're walking across the United States to raise awareness and funds for lupus research.


Show your support by visiting the Lupus Research Alliance online store. Discover the perfect gift, or prepare for a walk with our selection of apparel and accessories.

Powered by Blackbaud
nonprofit software