Uncontrolled inflammation is a chief cause of morbidity and mortality. In the September issue of Nature Immunology, scientists show that a natural molecule in our body known as SIGIRR regulates inflammation by dampening signals that initiate inflammatory responses. This finding helps us to understand how our body keeps inflammation in check and opens new avenues for designing anti-inflammatory treatments.
Our body senses bacteria and viruses with a set of molecules known as Toll-like receptors (TLRs). TLRs belong to a bigger family of molecules that include the interleukin 1 receptor, which is commonly associated with inflammation. Li and colleagues show that SIGIRR, which is a member of this family of molecules, suppresses rather than initiates inflammation. Understanding how SIGIRR is switched on should provide targets for stopping unwanted inflammation.
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