Navigation Links
International study: Excess dietary salt may drive the development of autoimmune diseases
Date:3/6/2013

Increased dietary salt intake can induce a group of aggressive immune cells that are involved in triggering and sustaining autoimmune diseases. This is the result of a study conducted by Dr. Markus Kleinewietfeld, Prof. David Hafler (both Yale University, New Haven and the Broad Institute of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT, and Harvard University, USA), PD Dr. Ralf Linker (Dept. of Neurology, University Hospital Erlangen), Professor Jens Titze (Vanderbilt University and Friedrich-Alexander-Universitt Erlangen-Nrnberg, FAU, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg) and Professor Dominik N. Mller (Experimental and Clinical Research Center, ECRC, a joint cooperation between the Max-Delbrck Center for Molecular Medicine, MDC, Berlin, and the Charit Universittsmedizin Berlin and FAU) (Nature, doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature11868)*. In autoimmune diseases, the immune system attacks healthy tissue instead of fighting pathogens.

In recent decades scientists have observed a steady rise in the incidence of autoimmune diseases in the Western world. Since this increase cannot be explained solely by genetic factors, researchers hypothesize that the sharp increase in these diseases is linked to environmental factors. Among the suspected culprits are changes in lifestyle and dietary habits in developed countries, where highly processed food and fast food are often on the daily menu. These foods tend to have substantially higher salt content than home-cooked meals. This study is the first to indicate that excess salt intake may be one of the environmental factors driving the increased incidence of autoimmune diseases.

A few years ago Jens Titze showed that excess dietary salt (sodium chloride) accumulates in tissue and can affect macrophages (a type of scavenger cells) of the immune system. Independent of this study, Markus Kleinewietfeld and David Hafler observed changes in CD4 positive T helper cells (Th) in humans, which were associated with specific dietary habits. The question arose whether salt might drive these changes and thus can also have an impact on other immune cells. Helper T cells are alerted of imminent danger by the cytokines of other cells of the immune system. They activate and "help" other effector cells to fight dangerous pathogens and to clear infections. A specific subset of T helper cells produces the cytokine interleukin 17 and is therefore called Th17 for short. Evidence is mounting that Th17 cells, apart from fighting infections, play a pivotal role in the pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases.

Salt dramatically boosts the induction of aggressive Th17 immune cells

In cell culture experiments the researchers showed that increased sodium chloride can lead to a dramatic induction of Th17 cells in a specific cytokine milieu. "In the presence of elevated salt concentrations this increase can be ten times higher than under usual conditions," Markus Kleinewietfeld and Dominik Mller explained. Under the new high salt conditions, the cells undergo further changes in their cytokine profile, resulting in particularly aggressive Th17 cells.

In mice, increased dietary salt intake resulted in a more severe form of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, a model for multiple sclerosis. Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease of the central nervous system in which the body's own immune system destroys the insulating myelin sheath around the axons of neurons and thus prevents the transduction of signals, which can lead to a variety of neurological deficits and permanent disability. Recently, researchers postulated that autoreactive Th17 cells play a pivotal role in the pathogenesis of multiple sclerosis.

Interestingly, according to the researchers, the number of pro-inflammatory Th17 cells in the nervous system of the mice increased dramatically under a high salt diet. The researchers showed that the high salt diet accelerated the development of helper T cells into pathogenic Th17 cells. The researchers also conducted a closer examination of these effects in cell culture experiments and showed that the increased induction of aggressive Th17 cells is regulated by salt on the molecular level. "These findings are an important contribution to the understanding of multiple sclerosis and may offer new targets for a better treatment of the disease, for which at present there is no known cure," said Ralf Linker, who as head of the Neuroimmunology Section and Attending Physician at the Department of Neurology, University Hospital Erlangen, seeks to utilize new laboratory findings for the benefit of patients.

Besides multiple sclerosis, Dominik Mller and his colleagues want to study psoriasis, another autoimmune disease with strong Th17 components. The skin, as Jens Titze recently discovered, also plays a key role in salt storage and affects the immune system. "It would be interesting to find out if patients with psoriasis can alleviate their symptoms by reducing their salt intake," the researchers said. "However, the development of autoimmune diseases is a very complex process which depends on many genetic and environmental factors," the immunologist Markus Kleinewietfeld said. "Therefore, only further studies under less extreme conditions can show the extent to which increased salt intake actually contributes to the development of autoimmune diseases."


'/>"/>

Contact: Bachtler, Barbara
bachtler@mdc-berlin.de
49-309-406-3896
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Ultracold matter technology from CU and SRI International licensed to Boulders ColdQuanta
2. International Polar Year conference: From knowledge to action
3. Large international study finds memory in adults impacted by versions of 4 genes
4. International team uncovers new genes that shape brain size, intelligence
5. Southampton researchers lead 2 international projects to help people out of poverty
6. UCSD researchers: Where international climate policy has failed, grassroots efforts can succeed
7. Washington University receives $8 million to lead international childhood malnutrition effort
8. Early Bird Discounts Available on International Healthcare and Biotechnology Conferences, Save Up To $600 with Global Information
9. New HealthFocus® International Study Reveals Five Very Different Weight Management Consumers
10. OU scientists and international team deciper the genetic code of the tomato
11. Digicel Launches Worlds First Biometric Identification System For International Money Transfers
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/23/2017)... 23, 2017 The report "Gesture Recognition and Touchless Sensing ... Geography - Global Forecast to 2022", published by MarketsandMarkets, the market is expected ... 29.63% between 2017 and 2022. Continue Reading ... ... ...
(Date:3/20/2017)... Germany , March 20, 2017 At this ... Hamburg -based biometrics manufacturer DERMALOG. The Chancellor came to the DERMALOG ... is this year,s CeBIT partner country. At the largest German ... biometrics in use: fingerprint, face and iris recognition as well as DERMALOG´s ... ...
(Date:3/9/2017)... and MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. , ... Well Made Simple," and 23andMe , the leading ... better food choices.  Zipongo can now provide customers with ... preferences, health goals and biometrics, but also genetic markers ... choices. Zipongo,s personalized food decision support platform ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/21/2017)... Washington, USA (PRWEB) , ... April 21, 2017 ... ... sensing, imaging, and related applications were the focus of researchers, engineers, product developers, ... 2017 in Anaheim. , Sponsored by SPIE, the international society for ...
(Date:4/20/2017)... ... April 20, 2017 , ... Assured Enterprises, ... to offer a full spectrum of digital security goods and services. The strategic ... and the ground-breaking proactive cybersecurity services and products through Assured Enterprises. The two ...
(Date:4/20/2017)... LAVAL, QC , April 20, 2017 /PRNewswire/ - Prometic Life ... today presented new results at the International Liver Congress ("ILC") ... Liver ("EASL") in Amsterdam on the ... in a mouse model of obesity and metabolic syndrome. ... According to Dr. Lyne Gagnon, ...
(Date:4/20/2017)... N.J. and PETACH TIKVAH, Israel ... BCLI), a leading developer of adult stem cell technologies for ... Executive Officer, will present at the Alliance for Regenerative Medicine,s ... Day on Thursday, April 27, 2017 at 09:40 EDT in ... Ralph Kern , MD, MHSc, Chief Medical Officer & ...
Breaking Biology Technology: