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Biology professor Kimberlee Mix and students publish paper

A team of students and Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences Kimberlee S. Mix have learned that their research will be published in the Journal of Inflammation. Titled, "Orphan Nuclear Receptor NR4A2 Induces Transcription of the Immunomodulatory Peptide Hormone Prolactin,” the paper reports “some surprising connections between prolactin and inflammation in arthritis,” says Mix. Normally, prolactin, a hormone that stimulates milk production after childbirth, is produced by the pituitary gland, but they found it was also induced by orphan nuclear receptor NR4A2 in cells from arthritic joints. "Adding prolactin to these cells triggers an inflammatory response, suggesting that this novel molecular pathway might contribute to arthritis and joint damage,” said Mix. While the team did not specifically address the clinical implications of this finding, Mix noted that many women with autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and lupus, experience post-partum flares in symptoms and NR42A may play a role. Mix and her students Joseph McCoy (Psychology graduate), Dana Walkenhorst (Chemistry graduate), Keegan McCauley (Biochemistry graduate), Hiba Elaasar (Biochemistry senior), and Jordan Everett (Biology graduate) were supported by research grants from the Louisiana Board of Regents.