Class Year

2017

Date

4-19-2017

Document Type

Thesis

Distinguished Thesis

Yes

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)

Department or Program

Biology

First Advisor

Douglas B. Light

Second Advisor

Ann B. Maine

Third Advisor

Elizabeth W. Fischer

Fourth Advisor

Joseph M. Reynolds, Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science

Abstract

Immune cells have the capacity to differentiate and proliferate after stimulation through pattern recognition receptors (PRRs). In the case of potentially autoreactive T-­cells, signaling from self molecules through PRRs can stimulate these cells to attack otherwise healthy tissue leading to autoinflammatory diseases such as multiple sclerosis. One self molecule that may induce this effect is hyaluronan, a structural polysaccharide found in the extracellular matrix. We initially hypothesized that low molecular weight hyaluronan, indicative of injury, could signal through toll-­like receptor 2, a PRR, to upregulate Th17 cell differentiation and proliferation. Naïve CD4+ murine T-cells were isolated and exposed to low and high molecular weight hyaluronan to determine the molecule’s effect. Surprisingly, our results showed evidence for both hyaluronan and hyaluronidase II in upregulating T-­helper 17 cell differentiation and proliferation. Further research is necessary to describe the mechanism for this effect, as well as to establish its physiological relevance.

Language

English


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