New research suggests that bats may hold the secret to combating inflammation and age-related diseases, offering fresh insights into potential therapies. Scientists from Duke-NUS Medical School have discovered that a protein found in bats, known as ASC2, can suppress inflammasomes, which play a role in the body's immune response. Unlike humans, bats release the ASC2 protein when detecting a virus, effectively keeping their immune system in check and preventing excessive inflammation. The findings have prompted interest in developing drugs that can stimulate the ASC2 protein response in humans, offering a new avenue for treating chronic inflammation and aging conditions.
The study, conducted through mouse models, demonstrated that the expression of the bat protein in genetically-modified mice reduced inflammation and mitigated the severity of diseases triggered by various factors, including viruses. Researchers identified specific amino acids within the bat ASC2 protein that make it more effective than the human version. This knowledge opens up possibilities for the development of a new class of anti-inflammatory drugs to target inflammasome-driven human diseases.
As researchers delve deeper into the mechanisms behind bats' longevity and immune resilience, there is hope that this newfound understanding will pave the way for breakthrough treatments and contribute to the pursuit of healthier aging for the global population.
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