Drs. Xingxing Zang, Steven Almo and Stanley Nathenson

Quelling Intestinal Inflammation — Discovery of a mechanism that regulates intestinal inflammation could lead to better treatments for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and gut cancers. The findings by Drs. Xingxing Zang, Steven Almo and the late Stanley Nathenson were described in the February 27 issue of Cell Reports. The researchers found that intestinal epithelial cells of mice and humans produce a protein called B7-H1 that plays an essential role in warding off inflammation. The protein latches onto immune cells and thereby prevents those cells from attacking the intestine. Mice lacking the gene for B7-H1were highly susceptible to intestinal inflammation. B7-H1 dampened intestinal inflammation by inhibiting TNF-a production and by stimulating IL-22 secretion from CD11c+CD11b+ lamina propria cells. The findings suggest that drugs capable of enhancing B7-H1 activity could help in treating IBD. The first author Dr. Lisa Scandiuzzi was a postdoctoral fellow in the Zang lab. Dr. Zang is associate professor of microbiology & immunology; Dr. Almo is professor of biochemistry and of physiology and biophysics, as well as the Wollowick Family Foundation Chair in Multiple Sclerosis and Immunology; the late Dr. Nathenson was professor of cell biology and of microbiology & immunology.