Immunological research at the University of Haifa, Israel, has made a new breakthrough, revealing a critical component in the "decision-making" process of white blood cells that play a role in the healing process from bacterial inflammation. "The process that we have discovered can assist in the development of drugs that are based on the natural processes that take place in the human body, unlike most of the existing drugs that attempt to curb inflammation by artificial means," explains Dr. Amiram Ariel of the Department of Biology at the University of Haifa, who headed the study. The research and its results have been published in the scientific journal European Journal of Immunology.
Bacterial inflammation forms in the body when bacteria (pathogens) penetrate body tissue. In response, specific types of white blood cells (neutrophils) begin to fight the invaders, to destroy and remove them from the tissue. In normal conditions, inflammation is terminated once the cells have managed to eradicate the bacteria and then undergo programmed cell death. At that point, another type of white blood cells come on stage macrophages whose job it is to take up the dead cells (the neutrophils) and to restore the tissue to its normal functioning state. While the macrophages feast on their cell meal, they gain the ability to begin the tissue's rehabilitation process. However, at one point they abandon the tissue and make their way over to immune system organs, via the lymphatic system, where they deliver the "back to routine" message to the rest of the immune system. This message is important for the body's return to normal functioning. Until now, however, the when and how that directs macrophages' leaving the inflamed tissue remained unknown.
Dr. Ariel explains that even when the body manages to cope with the bacterial invaders, there is also the danger of "excessive" healing that will result in fibrosis and scar formation. This happens when the s
|Contact: Rachel Feldman|
University of Haifa