Australian JDRF-funded researchers have discovered two particular proteins are essential in the development of autoimmune diseases including type 1 diabetes.
The study found that the absence of these two proteins, called Bim and Puma, led to an accumulation of ‘self-reactive’ immune cells that attacked different organs of the body. In healthy individuals, the body protects itself from autoimmune disease by forcing these self-reactive immune cells to die or become inactive.
This study, published by Professor Andreas Strasser and his colleagues at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, showed that the death of self-reactive immune cells was an important component of protecting the body against autoimmune disease.
The results of this study could impact not only the direction of type 1 diabetes prevention research, but also research into other autoimmune diseases. Future research can target these proteins to investigate the potential for preventing the onset of type 1 diabetes. This research will also pave the way to further understand the root causes of autoimmune diseases.
To support similar research studies into type 1 diabetes, please donate at www.jdrf.org.au/giving.