OMRF discovers gene variant that "cuts the brakes" on immune system in lupus patients

OKLAHOMA CITY, August 1, 2008 — Your immune system may have more in common with a Corvette than you thought.

When a virus or bacteria enters a human body, the immune system revs up to fight and expel the invader. Once the invader is gone, the body puts on the brakes to stop the immune response.

But a new study by Patrick Gaffney, M.D., and Kathy Moser, Ph.D., of the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation shows that variation of a particular gene—known as TNFAIP3—may cause the immune system to keep going at full speed long after the threat is gone, causing damage to the body.