Burnett School Director Pappachan Kolattukudy and College of Medicine Dean Deborah German, M.D.

A protein identified in a UCF lab has the power to suppress inflammation, a discovery that could help get to the root causes of disorders ranging from arthritis to heart disease.

The team’s findings are published in the December issue of the Journal of Experimental Medicine, according to a UCF release.

A research team led by Pappachan Kolattukudy, director of the Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences, initially discovered a particular protein called MCPIP, which has now been shown to act as suppressor of inflammation. It does this by inhibiting another protein that triggers an inflammatory response in the body.

That makes the protein an attractive target for new drug development to fight inflammatory diseases. Inflammation is an underlying problem in major chronic conditions, including cardiovascular disease, arthritis, cancer and obesity-induced type 2 diabetes.

Kolattukudy and his team discovered MCPIP in 2006 while researching heart disease, but they weren’t sure how it worked. The team continued to investigate the protein’s nature and found one of its key jobs is to regulate inflammation.

The next step of the research will be to find drug candidates that can promote or inhibit MCPIP function for therapeutic applications.

Kolattukudy joined UCF in 2003 and has more than 45 years of research accomplishments. He is ranked in the top 5 percent of the most highly funded National Institutes of Health researchers in the United States during the past 25 years.

Source:  Orlando Business Journal, UCF lab IDs inflammation suppression gene