Tanaka, A., Allam, V.S.R.R., Simpson, J., Tiberti, N., Shiels, J., To, J., Lund, M., Combes, V., Weldon, S., Taggart, C., Dalton, J.P., Phipps, S., Sukkar, M.B. & Donnelly, S. 2018, 'The parasitic 68-mer peptide FhHDM-1 inhibits mixed granulocytic inflammation and airway hyperreactivity in experimental asthma.', The Journal of allergy and clinical immunology, vol. 141, no. 6, pp. 2316-2319.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Dixit, A., Tanaka, A., Greer, J.M. & Donnelly, S. 2017, 'Novel Therapeutics for Multiple Sclerosis Designed by Parasitic Worms.', International Journal of Molecular Sciences, vol. 18, no. 10, pp. 1-17.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
The evolutionary response to endemic infections with parasitic worms (helminth) was the development of a distinct regulatory immune profile arising from the need to encapsulate the helminths while simultaneously repairing tissue damage. According to the old friend's hypothesis, the diminished exposure to these parasites in the developed world has resulted in a dysregulated immune response that contributes to the increased incidence of immune mediated diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Indeed, the global distribution of MS shows an inverse correlation to the prevalence of helminth infection. On this basis, the possibility of treating MS with helminth infection has been explored in animal models and phase 1 and 2 human clinical trials. However, the possibility also exists that the individual immune modulatory molecules secreted by helminth parasites may offer a more defined therapeutic strategy.
Tanaka, A., To, J., O'Brien, B., Donnelly, S. & Lund, M. 2017, 'Selection of reliable reference genes for the normalisation of gene expression levels following time course LPS stimulation of murine bone marrow derived macrophages.', BMC Immunology, vol. 18, no. 1, pp. 1-12.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Macrophages are key players in the initiation, perpetuation and regulation of both innate and adaptive immune responses. They largely perform these roles through modulation of the expression of genes, especially those encoding cytokines. Murine bone marrow derived macrophages (BMDMs) are commonly used as a model macrophage population for the study of immune responses to pro-inflammatory stimuli, notably lipopolysaccharide (LPS), which may be pertinent to the human situation. Evaluation of the temporal responses of LPS stimulated macrophages is widely conducted via the measurement of gene expression levels by RT-qPCR. While providing a robust and sensitive measure of gene expression levels, RT-qPCR relies on the normalisation of gene expression data to a stably expressed reference gene. Generally, a normalisation gene(s) is selected from a list of "traditional" reference genes without validation of expression stability under the specific experimental conditions of the study. In the absence of such validation, and given that many studies use only a single reference gene, the reliability of data is questionable.The stability of expression levels of eight commonly used reference genes was assessed during the peak (6 h) and resolution (24 h) phases of the BMDM response to LPS. Further, this study identified two additional genes, which have not previously been described as reference genes, and the stability of their expression levels during the same phases of the inflammatory response were validated. Importantly, this study demonstrates that certain "traditional" reference genes are in fact regulated by LPS exposure, and, therefore, are not reliable candidates as their inclusion may compromise the accuracy of data interpretation. Testament to this, this study shows that the normalisation of gene expression data using an unstable reference gene greatly affects the experimental data obtained, and, therefore, the ultimate biological conclusions drawn.This study reaffirms ...
Lund, M.E., Greer, J., Dixit, A., Alvarado, R., McCauley-Winter, P., To, J., Tanaka, A., Hutchinson, A.T., Robinson, M.W., Simpson, A.M., O'Brien, B.A., Dalton, J.P. & Donnelly, S. 2016, 'A parasite-derived 68-mer peptide ameliorates autoimmune disease in murine models of Type 1 diabetes and multiple sclerosis.', Scientific Reports, vol. 6, pp. 1-11.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Helminth parasites secrete molecules that potently modulate the immune responses of their hosts and, therefore, have potential for the treatment of immune-mediated human diseases. FhHDM-1, a 68-mer peptide secreted by the helminth parasite Fasciola hepatica, ameliorated disease in two different murine models of autoimmunity, type 1 diabetes and relapsing-remitting immune-mediated demyelination. Unexpectedly, FhHDM-1 treatment did not affect the proliferation of auto-antigen specific T cells or their production of cytokines. However, in both conditions, the reduction in clinical symptoms was associated with the absence of immune cell infiltrates in the target organ (islets and the brain tissue). Furthermore, after parenteral administration, the FhHDM-1 peptide interacted with macrophages and reduced their capacity to secrete pro-inflammatory cytokines, such as TNF and IL-6. We propose this inhibition of innate pro-inflammatory immune responses, which are central to the initiation of autoimmunity in both diseases, prevented the trafficking of autoreactive lymphocytes from the periphery to the site of autoimmunity (as opposed to directly modulating their function per se), and thus prevented tissue destruction. The ability of FhHDM-1 to modulate macrophage function, combined with its efficacy in disease prevention in multiple models, suggests that FhHDM-1 has considerable potential as a treatment for autoimmune diseases.