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  • Friday, November 3, 2017
  • 1:30 PM–2:30 PM
  • Science Building 010

Jack Harkema, Michigan State University

Lupus is a chronic, debilitating systemic auto-immune disease affecting approximately 1.5 millions Americans. Recent research from Dr. Harkema and his colleagues have revealed that airway exposure to the occupational toxicant crystalline silica (cSiO2) triggers early loss of self tolerance that accelerates the onset of systemic autoimmunity and exacerbates renal disease (nephritis) in the NZBWF1 mouse, a widely used lupus model. Remarkably, supplementing mouse diets with omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), a widely-used supplement extracted from cold-water fish, does-dependently prevented cSiO2-triggered autoimmunity and the renal and pulmonary pathology of lupus. By revealing mechanisms by which DHA blocks or ameliorates cSiO2-triggered lupus will bring novel insights into initiation/flaring of this devastating disease by toxic environmental stressors and how omega-3 dietary supplementation can avert these events.

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