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During pregnancy, many autoimmune cancers, such as multiple sclerosis or ocular inflammation (uveitis), disappear or significantly improve. A recent study provides an explanation of this phenomenon.During pregnancy, the cells of the immune system have decreased activity of the enzyme pyruvate kinase, read in a study by Howard R. Petty and Roberto Romero, published in the American Journal of Reproductive Immunology.
A normally functioning immune response depends on a compound called pyruvate, potentiating the potentiation of calcium-regulated molecular processes. The newly discovered mechanism represents a new path that may be the target of practitioners.
"It may result in the development of new drugs that gently regulate pyruvate kinase activity, altering immune function during pregnancy," Petty said. Thus, in addition to pre-eclampsia, rheumatoid arthritis, type I diabetes, and uveitis may be treated with similar types of drugs. According to Petty, this is a metabolic process that has two characteristics. It reduces the normal immune function so that the fetus containing the paternal white is not ejected, but at the same time it must support the growth of the fetus's cells.
The activity of pyruvate kinase and its results in both functioning of pyruvate enhances cell growth while altering immune function. Following pyruvate kinase activity during inhibited pregnancy, cellular metabolism is increased, leading to increased production of fats, carbohydrates, amino acids, and other substances that are indispensable for cell growth. Calcium enhances the production of the intermediate molecule called cytokines. When pyruvate levels are reduced in pregnancy, the calcium-mediated signal is also decreased, so that immune function changes in a condition other than pregnancy.
"By interfering with the mechanism above, we can keep pregnant immune responses, but at a level that still doesn't block the fetus," Petty explained.
The study included 21 pregnant women in the third trimester, 25 preeclampsia women and a non-pregnant control group. Higher enzyme levels in preeclampsia women support the theory. Preeclampsia is similar to inflammatory diseases. Without reducing pyruvate levels, inflammatory diseases become more severe. According to Petty, in the future we could measure the levels of these enzymes in early pregnancy, suppressing pre-eclampsia and other events, and we will be able to cure them with new drugs.