Novel family of anti-inflammatory substances may fight chronic diseases

Inflammation is behind cancer, acute pancreatitis, fatty liver disease, and many other illnesses.

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A new family of substances connected to chronic inflammation – which is involved in many diseases – has been discovered by researchers at Bar-Ilan University and the Hebrew University.
Inflammation is behind cancer, acute pancreatitis, fatty liver disease, diabetes, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic liver disease, atherosclerosis, multiple sclerosis and many other ailments.
These pathological conditions are associated with the release by the immune system of substances called pro-inflammatory cytokines. They participate in the neutralization of invading pathogens, repair injured tissues and promote wound healing. But during chronic or excessive activation of the immune system, when these cytokines are released in an uncontrolled manner, they can lead to unnecessary inflammation that frequently causes tissue damage.
In addition, a family of substances called reactive oxygen species (ROS) is also among the major contributors to many chronic diseases. Although oxidative reactions catalyzed by ROS are of great importance in metabolic processes and removal of toxic substances from the body, they are also involved in major damage to cells and tissues leading to cell death, possible DNA mutations and aging. Though the presence of oxygen is necessary for maintaining life, oxygen and ROS are involved in a variety of toxic effects. Without oxygen we will die, but oxygen also can kill us.
Prof. Abraham Nudelman and his graduate student Shani Zeeli from BIU’s chemistry department worked with HU School of
Pharmacy Prof. Marta Weinstock and her students and assistants. Their findings were recently published in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry.
“It is expected that further studies in humans will reveal the potential usefulness of these substances in the treatment of a variety of diseases where inflammation is a major contributor to the disease,” said Nudelman.