Scientists make critical insights into T-cell development


Mutations in the gene encoding the enzyme protein tyrosine phosphatase N2 (PTPN2) have been associated with the development of autoimmune disease including Type 1 diabetes, Crohn's Disease and rheumatoid arthritis.

In important fundamental research, Monash University researchers have identified a crucial part of the enzyme's role in early T-cell development, and have shown that decreased levels of this enzyme can lead to the type of T-cells that can contribute to the development of autoimmune disease.

Autoimmune diseases represent a broad spectrum of diseases, which arise when immune responses are directed against, and damage, the body's own tissues. Collectively their incidence exceeds that of cancer and heart disease and they are a leading cause of death and disability, in particular in the Western world.