Dissecting autoimmunity in Crohn’s disease
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Imperial College London
The efficiency of the human immune system depends on dynamic processes to distinguish between harmful and innocuous cells and molecules. These processes prevent our cells and molecules from being attacked by immune cells. A specific type of immune cells, called dendritic cells, are key players in these processes. Dendritic cells recognise our proper molecules and consequently prevent our immune system to destroy them. When this is impaired, our immune system attacks our healthy tissues causing what is called autoimmunity.
One of the most important autoimmune disorders, is the Crohn’s disease. Unfortunately, despite the important role of dendritic cells to prevent autoimmunity, their functioning in Crohn’s disease patients is poorly defined. Promising observations from preliminary experiments suggest the involvement of two key intracellular mechanisms in dendritic cells to control autoimmunity. Interestingly, these mechanisms are often impaired in Crohn’s disease patients. Hence, this project aims to perform an in-depth analysis of dendritic cells from Crohn’s disease patients harbouring at least one of these mechanisms impaired.
The expected outcome of this project will uncover how autoimmunity instigates during Crohn’s disease and consequently path the road towards therapeutic strategies to treat Crohn’s disease patients.