New Medicines, Therapies to Treat Chronic Inflammatory Disorders Possible With Discovery of the Role of a Key Enzyme

by Michael London | 07/30/2018 3:45 PM
New Medicines, Therapies to Treat Chronic Inflammatory Disorders Possible With Discovery of the Role of a Key Enzyme

The journal Nature recently published a breakthrough research paper that could lead to new drugs for treating diverse inflammation-related diseases ranging from Parkinson's and Alzheimer's to osteoarthritis and even some forms of cancer.

The enzyme drawing attention of researchers is cytosine monophosphate kinase 2 (CMPK2), and it activates NLRP3, an inflammation-triggering molecule, or inflammasome.

Scientists have known for many years that finding a way to block NLRP3 without affecting other inflammasomes could lead to new treatments for many inflammatory conditions. However, without a clear understanding of the molecular pathways involved in triggering NLRP3, it was not possible to design drugs that specifically block it.

The study published shows

“The synthesis of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), induced after the engagement of Toll-like receptors, is crucial for NLRP3 signaling. Toll-like receptors signal via the MyD88 and TRIF adaptors to trigger IRF1-dependent transcription of CMPK2, a rate-limiting enzyme that supplies deoxyribonucleotides for mtDNA synthesis.

“CMPK2-dependent mtDNA synthesis is necessary for the production of oxidized mtDNA fragments after exposure to NLRP3 activators. Cytosolic oxidized mtDNA associates with the NLRP3 inflammasome complex and is required for its activation. The dependence on CMPK2 catalytic activity provides opportunities for more effective control of NLRP3 inflammasome-associated diseases.”

What you should know about inflammation!

Inflammation is an abnormal, altered biological state of cells and tissues that occurs in response to infectious agents, injury, or stress. The response is complex and triggered by inflammasomes.

The state of inflammation brings potential benefits in that it can heal, restore health, and secure survival. But this happens at a cost.

During inflammation, there is a "decline in the normal function" of the affected cells and tissues while the threat is eliminated or the repair takes place.

In short-term conditions, the benefits of inflammation should not be ignored. After all, most of these infections clear, the wound is healed, and normal tissue function is restored. This is not to say that reducing inflammation, a symptom of the illness, in order to provide comfort and reduced the pain should be ignored.

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