Asthma-the active ingredient in the parasite larvae discovered
Allergic Asthma is widespread and the therapy options are limited. A newly discovered active compound from the larvae of a helminth parasite could help, the excessive, dampen the immune response.
Researchers from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and the Helmholtz Zentrum München discovered a substance in the larvae of the Rundwurms Heligmosomoides heligmosomoides (Hpb). The Protein Hpb-glutamate Dehydrogenase ensures that anti-inflammatory messengers forming substances, and at the same time, the proportion of proinflammatory cytokines are reduced. The results were presented in the prestigious scientific journal “Science Translational Medicine”.
Like a parasite outwits the immune system
The larvae of Heligmosomoides heligmosomoides survive in a particular environment. They grow in the intestinal mucosa of rodents, until they are sexually Mature. Thus, the larvae are not fought by the host, trick the immune system of the hosts that otherwise, with inflammatory reactions, secretion of fluid and muscle contractions against the invaders would fight back.
“The larvae of the worm parasites had against this defense responses normally no Chance,” says Dr. Julia Esser-von Bieren from the research team. However, the larvae have active ingredients, with which you can outwit the immune response of the host. “This evolutionarily-aged agents, we want to make for the therapy of chronic inflammatory diseases usable”, stresses Eßer-of Beers.
The parasite Protein weakens the immune response
The research team managed to identify the substance, analyze, and isolate, the is for the effect on the immune system responsible. It is the Protein Hpb-glutamate dehydrogenase. The Protein activates various immune regulatory pathways which ensure that the immune cells of the host organism, anti-inflammatory messenger substances form with a simultaneous reduction of Pro-inflammatory messengers. In other words, The Protein weakens the immune response.
A promising candidate for Asthma therapy
“The ability of Hpb-glutamate Dehydrogenase attenuate the immune response, makes them a promising candidate for the therapy of chronic airway inflammation,” explains Dr. Eßer-of Beers. Because often respiratory diseases such as allergic Asthma are the result of an Overreaction of the immune system. It comes to an Overproduction of inflammatory substances (Leukotrienes) that trigger asthma attacks. Used drugs such as cortisone act, however, was hardly on these messengers.
More effective than cortisone
The research team was able to demonstrate that the parasite Protein to inflammatory reactions in asthma, attenuates the sick mice. Also, studies of human cell cultures yielded good results. “We have considered mainly the effect on specific human immune cells, the macrophages,” explains the researcher. If these are permanently enabled, there would be chronic inflammation. By the addition of Hpb-glutamate Dehydrogenase of the pro-inflammatory activity of macrophages could be lowered significantly. Have shown that the substance is more effective than cortisone.
When will the drug be available?
“We are in the preclinical Phase and have yet to answer a lot of questions”, emphasises Esser-von Bieren. It must be clarified how the worm protein from cells in the respiratory tract is absorbed and what effect this has on the human immune system. So it could take a bit longer, until a finished drug is produced. (vb)