Identification of narrow T-cell phenotype in coeliac disease
Post.doc Asbjørn Christophersen has spear-headed the work that lead to identification of a narrow phenotype of gluten specific CD4+ T cells. This cell subset is also present in other autoimmune conditions and could be a target for future disease therapy.
Mass cytometry is a powerful tool to characterize protein expression at the single cell level. When this approach is combined with the ability to label disease-relevant, antigen-specific immune cells, we can better understand what makes these cells unique and how we can target specific cells as treatment.
Asbjørn Christophersen recently spent one year in the lab of professor Mark Davies at Stanford School of Medicine funded by the Scientia Fellows and the World Leading Human Immunology programs. During this stay at Stanford he managed for the first time to combine mass cytometry with peptide-MHC class II tetramers and thereby allowing multiparametric phenotyping of gluten-specific CD4+ T-cells. Combined with mRNA sequencing, Asbjørn and colleagues discovered that gluten-specific CD4+ T-cells have a very specific phenotype, and that cells with a similar phenotype can be found in other autoimmune conditions where we do not yet know the disease-driving antigens.
This work was recently published in Nature Medicine, and can serve as fundament for development of new therapies for coeliac disease and other autoimmune diseases.
Read about this research (in Norwegian) here.