A key sensor, known as cGAS, can lead to the activation of the stimulator of interferon genes (STING) system, then to interferon production.
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In lupus, Dr. Pisetsky said, researchers have recently shown that interferon affects this system and prevents the body’s mechanism for cleaning out damaged cells, leading to inflammation.10
“The outcome,” he said, “is too much mitochondrial DNA in terms of the cytoplasm, [which interacts] with the cGAS-STING system and causes upregulation of various cytokines.”
Thomas R. Collins is a freelance writer living in South Florida.
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- Gkirtzimanaki K, Kabrani E, Nikoleri D, et al. IFNα impairs autophagic degradation of mtDNA promoting autoreactivity of SLE monocytes in a STING-dependent fashion. Cell Rep. 2018 Oct 23;25(4):921–933.e5.