The Role of TLR8 in Lupus Nephritis
Dr. Davidson has discovered that one immune system protein, TLR8, may help foster lupus nephritis, the kidney inflammation that is a leading cause of illness and death in lupus patients. By using lupus-prone animals in which they have introduced the human TLR8 protein, they will investigate whether higher amounts of TLR8 induce inflammation and worsen kidney deterioration. They will also determine how the extra amounts of TLR8 regulate the function of kidney-resident immune cells that accelerate lupus nephritis. Drugs to block proteins that are related to TLR8 are already under development, and the study could indicate whether creating drugs to block TLR8 is worthwhile.
What this study means to people with lupus
Dr. Davidson’s new lupus research alliance-funded project promises to help illuminate how lupus leads to kidney damage and why the disease is more common in women than in men. The results may help the pharmaceutical and biotech industries decide which proteins to target with potential treatments.