Reading the Patterns

Science's STKE  16 Sep 2003:
Vol. 2003, Issue 200, pp. tw364-TW364
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2003.200.tw364

An animal's ability to cope with a given pathogen depends largely on the genetic program of the immune response. In some diseases, such as leprosy, this response dictates the divergent clinical forms that the disease eventually takes. Using microarray analysis of samples taken from leprosy lesions, Bleharski et al. identify distinct patterns of gene expression between the two main forms of the disease, the relatively mild tuberculoid form and the severe lepromatous form. A general increase in expression of leukocyte immunoglobulin-like receptor (LIR) family genes in lepromatous patients included LIR-7. Activation of this receptor resulted in elevated interleukin 10 expression and inhibition of Toll-like receptor function in vitro that corresponded with significantly impaired cell-mediated immune responses in these patients.

J. R. Bleharski, H. Li, C. Meinken, T. G. Graeber, M.-T. Ochoa, M. Yamamura, A. Burdick, E. N. Sarno, M. Wagner, M. Röllinghoff, T. H. Rea, M. Colonna, S. Stenger, B. R. Bloom, D. Eisenberg, R. L. Modlin, Use of genetic profiling in leprosy to discriminate clinical forms of the disease. Science 301, 1527-1530 (2003). [Abstract] [Full Text]