Belly 'Membrane' May Regulate Immune System, Mouse Study Finds
Cells from fatty abdominal lining show promise for new treatments for autoimmune problems

THURSDAY, June 7 (HealthDay News) -- A fatty membrane in the belly long believed to serve little purpose may actually play an important role in immune system regulation, according to a new study using mouse cells.

The finding might one day lead to new drugs for organ-transplant patients and people with autoimmune diseases such as lupus and Crohn's disease, said the researchers, from the Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.

The membrane, called omentum, lines the abdominal cavity and covers most abdominal organs; it also is a repository for fat tissue. In lab experiments with cells from mice, the researchers found that omentum cells appear to secrete a substance that can reduce the activity of the immune system.

The study was published June 6 in the journal PLoS One.

"We now have evidence that the omentum is not just fat sitting in the belly," the study's corresponding author, Makio Iwashima, an associate professor in the microbiology and immunology department, said in a university news release.

The finding could aid the development of new drugs that would suppress the immune system with fewer side effects than the current drugs used to treat organ-transplant patients and people with autoimmune diseases, in which the immune system attacks the body, the researchers said.

The researchers also found that the omentum contains a type of stem cell that travels to the site of an injury and helps regenerate tissue.

Research involving animals should be considered preliminary because the results often don't have implications for humans.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases has more about autoimmune diseases.

SOURCES: Loyola University Health System, news release, June 6, 2012
Content provided by: Healthday
Copyright © 2012 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Health and Medical News:
Right Arrow Indicator Latest Headlines
Right Arrow Indicator Browse News by Topic
Right Arrow Indicator Search Health News

Clinical Trials Information:
Right Arrow Indicator Search for Available Clinical Trials
Right Arrow Indicator Join to be Notified of New Clinical Trials
Right Arrow Indicator Learn About Clinical Trials
  • FEATURED STUDIES

    (updated 15 minutes ago)
 
Adolescent Major Depression (Ages 12-17) - Multiple Locations in the U.S.


Rheumatoid Arthritis - Multiple Locations in the U.S.


Cancer Experience Registry (Multiple Myeloma) - NATIONWIDE


Advanced Parkinson’s Disease - Multiple Locations in the U.S.


Endometriosis - Multiple Locations in the U.S.


Lupus - Multiple Locations in the U.S.


Pregnant and Taking/or Planning to Take Cimzia (certolizumab) - Nationwide


Diabetic Gastroparesis - Multiple Locations in the U.S.


High Cholesterol - Multiple Locations in the U.S.


Asthma in Children (Ages 5-11) - Multiple Locations in the U.S.


Migraines - Multiple Locations in the U.S.


Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) - Autosomal Dominant (ADPKD) - Multiple Locations in the U.S.


Gastroparesis - Multiple Locations in the U.S.


Multiple Sclerosis - Multiple Locations in the U.S.


Type 1 Diabetes - Multiple Locations in the U.S.


Inflammatory Bowel Disease (Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis) - NATIONWIDE


Parkinson's Disease - Multiple Locations in the U.S.


Type 2 Diabetes - Multiple Locations in the U.S.


Chronic Itch - Multiple Locations in the U.S.


COPD (Emphysema and Chronic Bronchitis) - Multiple Locations in the U.S.


Asthma - Multiple Locations in the U.S.


Smoking Cessation (Teens Ages 12-16) - Multiple Locations in the U.S.


Diabetic Foot Sores – Multiple Locations in the U.S. and Canada


Pediatric Depression - Multiple Locations in the US


Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) - Multiple Locations in the U.S. and Canada


Brain Tumor (Glioblastoma) - Multiple Locations in the U.S.