Root of the Problem
Researchers uncover potential drug target in Sjögren’s syndrome
Phoebe Harkin | | Quick Read
A study has uncovered a potential therapeutic target for one of ophthalmology’s most unusual conditions: Sjögren’s syndrome. Most common in women between the ages of 40 and 60, the disease sees the exocrine glands become infiltrated with lymphocytes, instigating severe damage to the salivary and lacrimal glands. The researchers compared samples from patients with Sjögren’s syndrome and healthy controls, and found that those with the condition had abnormally high levels of microRNA-744 – a molecule blocking the production of anti-inflammatory mediator Pellino3 (PELI3).
By downregulating microRNA-744 expression, the researchers were able to reduce ocular inflammation. “Our research provides the opportunity to treat the root cause of the disease, rather than just the symptoms,” said co-author Joan Ní Gabhann-Dromgoole, Senior Scientist at the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin, Ireland.
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- Q Pilson et al., Nature, 10, 7484 (2020). PMID: 32366870.