A new type of therapy that targets a key enzyme in a specific type of white blood cell eases inflammation in mice, a Nature paper reveals. It's hoped that the study will aid the development of anti-inflammatory therapeutics for conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and atherosclerosis.
Michael Czech and colleagues designed several small interfering RNAs (siRNAs), all of which silence the expression of an enzyme called mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase kinase kinase 4 (Map4k4) in macrophages. In turn, the white blood cells produced fewer inflammatory molecules, easing symptoms and promoting the survival of mice with an experimentally induced form of inflammation.
The new method represents an important advance, not least because the siRNA is encapsulated and given orally, but also because its effects are restricted to a target cell type. It is also up to 250 times more potent in vivo than previous reported, systemically delivered siRNAs.
Michael Czech (University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA, USA)
(C) Nature press release.
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