12 January - 20 June 2016

Salt and autoimmune diseases

20 March 13

Two recent studies published in the journal Nature, have indicated that increased dietary salt intake can induce a group of aggressive immune cells that are involved in triggering and sustaining autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis and type 1 diabetes.  TH17 are immune cells that protect the body from harmful bacteria and fungi, however excessive amounts are thought to play a key role in autoimmune disease. In recent decades incidence of autoimmune diseases in the western world have increased.  As this increase cannot be explained solely by genetic factors and gender, the researchers hypothesise that this increase may be linked to environmental factors.  The first study by Hafler et al. spiked unspecialised T cells with sodium chloride and found that this increased the number of TH17 cells that matured in the culture by nearly 10 times.  Hafler et al then investigated this using a mouse model of multiple sclerosis and found that salt accelerated the disease progression.  Another study also published in Nature by Kuchroo et al. also had similar results. The scientists investigated the molecular mechanism that produces TH17.  They found that mouse cells cultured with increased salt had higher expression of a protein SGK1 and produced more TH17 cells.  The scientists then investigated this using three groups of mice: group 1 lacked SGK1 gene and consumed a normal diet, group 2 lacked the SGK1 gene and was fed a high salt diet for three weeks, and group 3 had the SGK1 genes and was fed the same high-salt diet as group 2.    The mice were investigated to see if they developed experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) and if SGK1 and salt exposure played a role.  Group 1 mice were found to have fewer TH17 cells and less severe EAE, group 2 appeared to be protected against the development of EAE and group 3 had more frequent and severe EAE than mice fed a normal diet and more TH17 cells than group 2.   The studies conclude by reporting that while the gene SGK1 plays an important role in autoimmune response, they suggest other immune cells and pathways are also affected by high salt levels and indicate results do not exclude other mechanisms for salt affecting TH17 cell production.

RSSL's Product and Ingredient Innovation Team, has considerable experience in re-formulating products to provide more healthy options including low salt, low sugar versions and using pre- and probiotics.  Using RSSL can help speed up your development cycle considerably.  For more information please contact Customer Services on Freephone 0800 243482 or email enquiries@rssl.com

share this article
RSSL endeavours to check the veracity of news stories cited in this free e-mail bulletin by referring to the primary source, but cannot be held responsible for inaccuracies in the articles so published. RSSL provides links to other World Wide Web sites as a convenience to users, but cannot be held responsible for the content or availability of these sites. This document may be copied and distributed provided the source is cited as RSSL's Food e-News and the information so distributed is not used for profit.

Previous editions

Load more editions

Make an Enquiry