Drugs and drug-like molecules can modulate the function of mucosal-associated invariant T cells

Journal: Nature Immunology

Published: 2017-02-06

DOI: 10.1038/ni.3679

Affiliations: 8

Authors: 21

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Research Highlight

Unexpected immune sensitivity found to well-known drugs

© Tetra Images/Getty

© Tetra Images/Getty

Some of the most commonly prescribed medications may be having unexpected immune-related side-effects, finds an Australian team co-led by scientists at the University of Melbourne.

The researchers used computer modelling to predict chemical structures that might activate or inhibit a specialized type of immune cell involved in recognizing microbial infections and mounting an immune response when it detects an invader.

Reporting in Nature Immunology, the team found a range of everyday drugs and drug breakdown products that seemed to modulate the activity of these immune cells known as mucosal associated invariant T cells — or MAIT cells. These drugs include common painkillers such as aspirin and diclofenac, as well as medicines used to treat cancer and autoimmune disorders.

The authors hope the work will lead to therapeutic strategies that help patients avoid harmful immune reactions to their medications.

Supported content

  1. Nature Immunology 18, 402–411 (2017). doi: 10.1038/ni.3679
Institutions FC
The Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity (Doherty Institute), Australia 0.52
Institute for Molecular Bioscience (IMB), UQ, Australia 0.10
The University of Queensland (UQ), Australia 0.10
Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute (BDI), Monash University, Australia 0.09
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Monash University, Australia 0.09
The University of Melbourne (UniMelb), Australia 0.05
Monash University, Australia 0.04
Institute of Infection and Immunity, Cardiff University, United Kingdom (UK) 0.01

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