March 28, 2018
Gout breakthrough in tiny fish
It’s not a quota fish but tiny zebrafish are pointing the way towards a breakthrough treatment for gout.
University of Auckland researchers have used almost transparent zebrafish embryos to make dynamic movies of the immune system responding to urate crystals, which cause the painful joint inflammation.
Chris Hall, who led the study reported in The Journal of Clinical Investigation, says they uncovered a previously unrecognised mechanism through which the immune system responds to urate crystals.
Blocking this mechanism of immune cell activation in humans represents a new strategy to alleviate gouty inflammation.
Dr Hall says the study is of particular significance to Aotearoa/New Zealand, as Maori and Pacific people have the highest prevalence of gout worldwide.
The Auckland team has Health Research Council funding to exploit the findings and identify new anti-inflammatory treatments for gout.
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