Autoinflammatory Disease, The Rare Immune Condition With Waves

A little over twenty years ago, three generations of Americans Autoinflammatory were refer by the National Institutes of Health in Washington DC to be treat for an identify disease. They ranged in age from ten to 82 and experienced symptoms such as monthly episodes of unexplained high fevers up to 41, that lasted two to seven days.

The patients also experienced painful swelling of lymph nodes, enlarged livers and spleens, abdominal pain and mouth ulcers, as well as joint pain and a variety of other symptoms. They had experienced the symptoms since shortly after their birth. It appeared like they were experiencing an inflammatory reaction. Doctors could not link the episodes to an infection.

These symptoms now known to typical of autoinflammatory conditions rare diseases that cause unprovoke episodes or inflammation. These diseases are sometimes call periodic fever syndromes because they cause inflammatory episodes that occur frequently. These conditions are not only painful and debilitating but can also cause damage to vital organs like the heart and lungs.

What Causes Autoinflammatory Diseases?

An abnormal activation or suppression of the body’s innate immune system can lead to autoinflammatory diseases. The innate immune system, a hard-wired mechanism that responds quickly to foreign invaders, is an example of a hard-wired defense mechanism. One of its many functions is the release cytokines.

These immune messengers are critical in alerting other cells and recruiting them to fight, increasing blood circulation, and inducing fever. We’ll be covering cytokines in more detail later. Invading microbes are not responsible for inflammation and fever in autoinflammatory disorders. Mutations and genetic changes can cause uncontrolled inflammation. Autoinflammatory diseases are often diagnose in childhood and can last a lifetime. Multiple cases of the same disease can result from multiple genetic mutations that can be pass on from one generation to another.

Autoinflammatory diseases differ from autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis. These are cause by defects within the adaptive immune system, an alternative arm of the immune system. There are many autoinflammatory diseases. Many of them are cause by genetic mutations.

What Can We Do To Treat Autoinflammatory Diseases?

It is impossible to cure autoinflammatory diseases. Treatments are usually use to manage symptoms. High doses of corticosteroids are use to treat patients with immune suppression. Autoinflammatory diseases are rare and difficult to treat. Autoinflammatory diseases are often associate with excessive production of cytokines. Biologics are antibodies that can use to treat these excess cytokines.

These antibodies are often to interleukin-1 or tumour necrosis factor (TNF). Biologics can be expensive and have serious side effects. Treatment is not a scientific process. It’s a trial-and-error process

Genetic Testing Can Help

Genetic tests have been develop to aid diagnosis after the discovery of mutations in genes that cause autoinflammatory diseases. Some people with autoinflammatory diseases do not experience a change in any of the disease-causing genes. Our researchers created the Australian Autoinflammatory Disease Registry in order to identify other genetic causes for autoinflammatory diseases.

What We Discovered About The Underlying Mechanism

The NIH researchers were trying to find a cause for the American family’s illness, but another strand was being played out in Australia. We looked at the role of TNF, the master cytokine that controls many aspects the body’s inflammatory response and its partner RIPK1. The body usually has many checks to ensure that these molecules are well controlled.

We worked closely with US scientists, who discovered a critical mutation within the gene coding RIPK1. This mutation caused changes in one amino acid and was sufficient to make TNF an elite killer. This is the cause of the uncontrolled inflammation that led to the American family’s illness. This condition was dub CRIA syndrome by our team (cleavage resistant RIPK1-induced inflammation syndrome).