Navigation Links
Immunity mechanism discovered

Scientists at the University of Calgary's Faculty of Medicine have discovered a mechanism that is used to protect the body from harmful bacteria. Platelets, a component of blood typically associated with clotting, were discovered to actively search for specific bacteria, and upon detection, seal it off from the rest of the body. The findings, which were published in Nature Immunology this week, provide the science community with a greater understanding of immunity.

"The science community has known that platelets do participate in immunity, but now it's been demonstrated that they have a way of actively searching for bacteria," says Craig Jenne, PhD, one of the authors of the study and a member of the university's Snyder Institute for Chronic Diseases.

The vast majority of bacteria in the blood stream is trapped by the liver in a network of specialized cells known as Kupffer cells. Once trapped, a series of immune processes take place to eradicate the bacteria; however, this can take several hours, lending time to harmful bacteria to multiply and release toxins into the neighboring cells, subsequently causing infection and cell damage and death.

"Upon entering the blood stream, bacteria can start to divide within several minutes," he says. "So if you're waiting for the immune system to deal with it, the bacteria could become an infection before it gets there."

Through imaging of the liver in animal models, scientists discovered that platelets are constantly interacting with the Kupffer cells by 'touching' them to search for captured bacteria. If nothing is detected, or if the bacteria isn't deemed particularly harmful, the platelets will move on; however, if harmful bacteria is detected, the platelets will bind to it, sealing it off from the body until the immune system can rid the bacteria altogether. This happens within seconds of cell capture and thus reduces the likelihood of infection.

"If this instantaneous response didn't exist, it could be a matter of life and death," he says.

Interestingly, it was observed that while this touch-and-go mechanism is happening continuously, platelets only appear to create this barrier around particularly harmful bacteria, such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). MRSA can lead to serious and potential fatal conditions such as sepsis, and is spread through skin to skin contact.

"We now have a completely different angle of how the immune system deals with specific types of bacteria," says study author Paul Kubes, PhD, who is also director of the Snyder Institute for Chronic Diseases. "Going forth we can begin to look at how we can help our own defenses deal with these types of bacteria."


Contact: Kathryn Sloniowski
University of Calgary

Related biology news :

1. Flu immunity is affected by how many viruses actually cause the infection
2. Behind closed doors: Researchers show how probiotics boost plant immunity
3. UTSW researchers identify new enzyme that acts as innate immunity sensor
4. Circuitry of cells involved in immunity, autoimmune diseases exposed
5. Pitt team finds immunity protein that ramps up inflammation, and agents that can block it
6. Innate immunity system of sheep and goat herds against viral infections clarified
7. Innate immunity
8. NIH fellowship helps researcher fight malaria, understand mosquito immunity
9. Mechanism for Burgess Shale-type preservation
10. New insight into mechanisms behind autoimmune diseases suggests a potential therapy
11. Unexpected discovery reveals a new mechanism for how the cerebellum extracts signal from noise
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/17/2015)... -- Vigilant Solutions announces today that Mr. Dick W. ... --> --> Mr. Boyce ... at TPG Capital, one of the largest global investment ... revenue.  He founded and led TPG,s Operating Group, which ... 1997 to 2013.  In his first role, he served ...
(Date:11/16/2015)... Calif. , Nov 16, 2015  Synaptics ... of human interface solutions, today announced expansion of ... TouchView ™ touch controller and display driver ... revolution of smartphones. These new TDDI products add ... TD4100 (HD resolution), TD4302 (WQHD resolution), and TD4322 ...
(Date:11/12/2015)... 12, 2015  Arxspan has entered into an ... Harvard for use of its ArxLab cloud-based suite ... The partnership will support the institute,s efforts to ... research information internally and with external collaborators. The ... managing the Institute,s electronic laboratory notebook, compound and ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... PHILADELPIA, PA (PRWEB) , ... November 24, 2015 , ... ... young entrepreneurs at competitive events in five states to develop and pitch their BIG ... student projects from each state are competing for votes to win the title of ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... , November 24, 2015 SHPG ) ... participate in the Piper Jaffray 27 th Annual Healthcare Conference ... December 1, 2015, at 8:30 a.m. EST (1:30 p.m. GMT). ... Chief Financial Officer, will participate in the Piper Jaffray 27 th ... , NY on Tuesday, December 1, 2015, at 8:30 a.m. EST ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... , Nov. 24, 2015  Tikcro Technologies Ltd. (OTCQB: TIKRF) today announced ... 29, 2015 at 11:00 a.m. Israel time, at ... 98 Yigal Allon Street, 36 th Floor, Tel Aviv, ... Eric Paneth and Izhak Tamir to the Board of ... as external directors; , approval of an amendment to certain terms ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... SAN FRANCISCO , Nov. 24, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... today announced that Emily Leproust, Ph.D., Twist Bioscience ... Piper Jaffray Healthcare Conference on December 1, 2015 ... Palace Hotel in New York City. ... . Twist Bioscience is on ...
Breaking Biology Technology: