Alzheimer's

Autophagy Genes

Autophagy is a general term for cellular pathways that move something from the cytoplasm of the cell into the lysosome for degradation. The term comes from the Greek 'auto' (self) and '-phagy' (to eat).  So when you see articles touting 'autophagy diets' as the latest and greatest for longevity or beautiful skin, realize that the term is just a general one that applies to a cellular process that goes on all the time in our cells. Let me see if I can explain a bit of the biology behind this, and then I’ll go into how your genes play a role in autophagy. Back to high school science class:  Inside almost every cell in the body is an organelle called a lysosome. It is made up of a membrane that surrounds a bunch of different enzymes for breaking down proteins.  This is a way our cells can clean up after themselves, and also how they get rid of foreign invaders like bacteria. (more…)

By Debbie Moon, ago
Auto-inflammatory

HLA-B27: Genetic Variants That Increase Susceptibility to Autoimmune Diseases

Our immune system does an awesome job, most of the time, at fighting off pathogenic bacteria and viruses. But to fight off these pathogens, the body needs to know that they are the bad guys.  One part of our immune system is the major histocompatibility complex, also known as HLA, or human leukocyte antigens. The HLA genes produce proteins that, as part of our innate immune system, help our body determine what is a foreign invader that needs to be attacked. There are many different HLA serotypes that people can have, giving us all slightly different strengths and weaknesses against microbial diseases. But along with attacking foreign invaders, a handful of HLA types also increase the susceptibility to autoimmune diseases, where the body attacks its own cells. (more…)

By Debbie Moon, ago


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