Immune system anti-viral molecule interleukin-17 contributes to arthritis and muscle damage response
You’ve hired a gardener, but they’re a little overenthusiastic. They discover slugs eating your flowers, so they fetch their flamethrower and torch everything. The slugs are gone, but the collateral damage is terrible. Your immune system can overreact too. Ross River virus (RRV) causes painful arthritis that can last for years, but most of the damage is due to inflammation triggered by the immune system. The left panel shows fibres of skeletal muscle (yellow) from a mouse infected with RRV. The right panel gives a closer look at helper T cells (white) and killer T cells (pink) producing interleukin-17 (green), a molecule that activates inflammation to keep viruses in check. Researchers found that interleukin-17 levels dramatically increased in RRV-infected mice but blocking this signal decreased inflammation and arthritis severity. Importantly, blocking interleukin-17 didn’t increase the number of viruses present. This strategy may soon be applied as a treatment for people with arthritis caused by RRV.
BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC Laboratory of Medical Sciences until Jul 2023, it is now run independently by a dedicated team of scientists and writers. The website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biology, and its influence on medicine. The ever-growing archive of more than 4000 research images documents over a decade of progress. Explore the collection and see what you discover. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.
BPoD is also available in Catalan at www.bpod.cat with translations by the University of Valencia.