A software that better helps researchers detect shifts in fuel
utilisation in human cells will allow them to determine whether
dietary intake and drugs would help normalise the chronic
inflammation that is known to drive the development of diseases
SHORE, an analytical tool developed in collaboration between
researchers from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) and
the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, enhances measurement and
analysis of energy production generated by human immune cells.
"Measuring energy production is critical for determining how
immune cells fuel inflammation in many diseases such as obesity and
diabetes," explained Barbara Nikolajczyk, PhD, associate professor
of microbiology at BUSM.
The software, using Extracellular Flux technology (technology
for cellular bioenergetic studies), can accurately compare
peripheral blood cells from healthy people to those with
Development of this automated tool increases the researchers'
capacity to analyse the large number of cell samples required for
rigor in human materials research.
"This method is a critical advance in the analysis of human
immune cells and is available as a free download to serve the
scientific community unencumbered," added Nikolajczyk.
Related information 1
In a 2015 study, the Boston University School of Medicine
identified a new fingerprint of inflammation that may be able to
predict which patients with obesity may also develop type 2
The researchers identified Th17 cells, known to be involved in
autoimmune diseases, as a dominant cell type in Type 2
The researchers also demonstrated that another important immune
cell, Th1, may be involved in the glycemic control aspect of Type 2
That study combined basic measures of inflammation in Type
2 diabetes with cutting-edge mathematical analysis to
sort through all changes in inflammatory proteins and
rank the changes from most to least important in an unbiased
"This newly identified fingerprint of inflammation relative
to different traits of Type 2 diabetes may be an important new
biomarker to predict the 75 percent of people with obesity who will
become Type 2 diabetic, versus the 25 percent of people with
obesity who remain metabolically healthy," explained Barbara
Nikolajczyk, PhD, associate professor of microbiology at BUSM.
2015 study article
Related information 2
In an earlier study in 2013, the Boston University School of
Medicine revealed that B cells regulate obesity-associated
inflammation and type 2 diabetes through two specific mechanisms.
The study called for continued exploration of B cells as a
therapeutic target to treat these diseases.
Previous research had shown that B cells, which are white
blood cells of the immune system, promote inflammation and
can lead to the development of type 2 diabetes, but the mechanisms
underlying B cell function were unclear.
The study indicated that B cells secrete a pro-inflammatory
ratio of proteins called cytokines, which directly promote the
insulin resistance that characterizes type 2 diabetes. The
researchers also demonstrated that B cells directly regulate
inflammatory T cells, an immune cell type known to
cause insulin resistance in animal models of disease.
"Now that we have identified the specific mechanisms by
cells promote inflammation, we can help develop novel,
targeted approaches to treat type 2 diabetes," said Nikolajczyk.
"Our study supports the continued exploration of FDA-approved B
cell depletion drugs, which are known to be generally safe and
effective, as novel agents to prevent obesity-associated
inflammation and type 2 diabetes."
2013 study article