Emma Wincent, researcher at Swetox, coauthors an article in the latest issue of Nature Magazine. The article presents studies on cells in the intestinal mucosa of mice and the control of a receptor called the Ah receptor in these cells, and how this affects the immune system in the intestine.
Emma and her colleagues have been studying the regulation of the Ah receptor, a receptor known for being activated and convey the toxic effects of harmful organic compounds. This receptor has also been shown to be critical for the formation and function of certain immune cells and thus important for the immune system in e.g. intestinal mucosa.
The receptor requires activation by certain substances, so called ligands, that controls the activity and function of the receptor. The levels of these ligands in the body are important to control. The study shows how a disturbed regulation of the enzyme that breaks down these ligands affect the intestinal immune system. An increased degradation leads to a lack of receptor function, a weakened immune system and increased susceptibility to infection in the intestine.