Nitro-fatty acids — a type of fatty molecule naturally produced in the body — could act as natural inhibitors of the stimulator of IFN genes (STING), a protein involved in inflammatory diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), according to a study.
The study, “Nitro-fatty acids are formed in response to virus infection and are potent inhibitors of STING palmitoylation and signaling,” was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS).
STING is a key molecule of the immune system that responds to viral infections by increasing the number of interferons (IFN) and other inflammatory molecules that activate immune cells.
In some cases, however, STING causes an overproduction of these inflammatory molecules. This contributes to diseases including SLE and Aicardi-Goutières syndrome, a disease that mostly affects the brain and skin. STING also is a stimulator of IFN gene-associated vasculopathy with onset in infancy (SAVI) — abnormal inflammation involving the skin, blood vessels, and lungs.
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