Investigating the role of Langhans type multinucleated giant cells in giant cell arteritis.
The aim of this project is to investigate the formation & function of Langhans-type multinucleated giant cells to improve our understanding of giant cell arteritis.
Giant cell arteritis (GCA) is a disease in which arteries of the head and neck become narrowed following a build-up of cells from the immune system in the walls of the vessels. Predominantly affecting the elderly, the disease can have serious consequences including permanent blindness. The cause of GCA is currently unknown and the mainstay of treatment is the use of potent anti-inflammatory drugs. These drugs have a number of harmful side effects, which can be particularly problematic in the elderly.
The majority of our cells have a single nucleus, but within the artery walls of GCA sufferers, large cells with multiple nuclei called multinucleated giant cells (MGCs) are formed. We don’t fully understand how they form, or how they’re involved in the disease. This project aims to address these questions, as a better understanding of MGCs could help us to learn why the disease develops, and how current treatments can be improved.
This project will generate MGCs in the lab using cells isolated from human blood, and investigate the mechanism of their formation, and their function. This information will be coupled with data collected from temporal artery biopsies to make sure we have a realistic view of what happens in the arteries of GCA patients.