Scientists at Trinity College Dublin’s School of Biochemistry and Immunology in the Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute have made an important breakthrough in understanding what goes wrong in our bodies during the progression of inflammatory diseases.



  • Scientists have found that an enzyme called Fumarate Hydratase is repressed in macrophages, a frontline inflammatory cell type implicated in a range of diseases including Lupus, Arthritis, Sepsis and Covid-19.
  • They have made an important link between Fumarate Hydratase and immune proteins called cytokines that mediate inflammatory diseases.
  • The research revealed that when Fumarate Hydratase is repressed, RNA is released from mitochondria which can bind to key proteins ‘MDA5’ and ‘TLR7’ and trigger the release of cytokines, thereby worsening inflammation.


What are cytokines?

  • Cytokines are signalling proteins that are released by cells at local high concentrations.
  • The role of cytokines is to facilitate the regulation of the immune response in the body.


What is Lupus?

  • Lupus is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system starts attacking your own tissues and organs.
  • The condition primarily affects the kidney, but it also has an impact on the skin, blood vessels, connective tissue, heart, brain, and nearly every other organ.
  • It is treated by immunosuppression via drugs such as mycophenolate, azathioprine, cyclophosphamide, rituximab
  • The SLEDAI disease activity index is used for the prognosis of this disease.