Posted on Sep 02, 2019, 4 p.m.
In order for humans to overcome an infection the immune system has to kill off invading virus/bacterium and be able to tolerate the inflammation that has been triggered by the infection. Yale researchers suggest to have determined a key component of the second infection fighting mechanism.
Focussing on the hormone growth and differentiation factor 15 using patient blood samples, GDF15 was found to be highly elevated in those with sepsis, which is a life threatening complication of infection, regardless of the type of infection. GDF15 generally appeared to be common to inflammatory diseases, according to the researchers.
As published in Cell during further studies involving mice the role of GDF15 was determined to help the body tolerate inflammation during acute infection by protecting the heart during infection via signaling the brain to tell the liver to produce triglycerides, which are a type of fat the heart needs for energy to function properly.
Findings suggest that GDF15 plays protective roles during acute infection or illness, although the roles played in chronic inflammatory diseases remains unknown. Insight may help to inform future strategies for inflammatory disease such as autoimmune, cardiovascular, and sepsis.
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