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Glutamate joins the ranks of immunomodulators

Elevated amounts of glutamate, which acts as a neurotransmitter but is also a neurotoxin, are a hallmark of the autoimmune neurological disease multiple sclerosis and may contribute to its pathology. The discovery that a receptor for glutamate can inhibit the development of autoimmunity and protect from neuroinflammation in a mouse model of multiple sclerosis suggests that glutamate may also have a protective role and that its receptor may represent a therapeutic target (pages 897–902).

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Figure 1: Glutamate activation of mGluR4 signaling in dendritic cells prevents the production of IL-6 and IL-23, favoring the development of Treg cells over TH17 cells in EAE.

Katie Vicari


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Correspondence to Rachel R Caspi.

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Hansen, A., Caspi, R. Glutamate joins the ranks of immunomodulators. Nat Med 16, 856–858 (2010).

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