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Autoimmune Diseases, Crohn's Disease, Lupus, Research

New Research Shows Belly ‘Membrane’ May Regulate Immune System

(HealthDay News) — A fatty membrane in the belly long believed to serve little purpose may actually play an important role in immune system regulation, according to a new study using mouse cells.

The finding might one day lead to new drugs for organ-transplant patients and people with autoimmune diseases such as lupus and Crohn’s disease, said the researchers, from the Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.

The membrane, called omentum, lines the abdominal cavity and covers most abdominal organs; it also is a repository for fat tissue. In lab experiments with cells from mice, the researchers found that omentum cells appear to secrete a substance that can reduce the activity of the immune system.

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