Navigation Links
Some immune cells defend only 1 organ
Date:4/17/2014

Scientists have uncovered a new way the immune system may fight cancers and viral infections. The finding could aid efforts to use immune cells to treat illness.

The research, in mice, suggests that some organs have the immunological equivalent of "neighborhood police" specialized squads of defenders that patrol only one area, a single organ, instead of an entire city, the body.

Scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have shown that the liver, skin and uterus each has dedicated immune cells, which they call tissue-resident natural killer cells. Other organs may have similar arrangements.

Their study, published in eLife, disproves the long-held assumption that all natural killer cells roam the body to provide the first line of defense against cancers and viruses.

"If, for example, we can use specialized medications to activate only these organ-specific cells, they could provide powerful and selective weapons against infections and tumors in the organs where they reside," said senior investigator Wayne M. Yokoyama, MD, the Sam and Audrey Loew Levin Professor of Medicine. "Cells that only defend one organ may be much better equipped than the roaming immune cells to mount an attack and limit collateral damage to healthy tissue."

Scientists have thought that mature natural killer cells circulate through the body looking for viruses and cancers. When these immune cells identify a threat, they attack. Scientists also thought that natural killer cells that stayed in the liver instead of circulating were immature or inactive and eventually would become like other natural killer cells, leaving the liver and moving through the body.

In the new study, lead author Dorothy K. Sojka, PhD, a postdoctoral research fellow in Yokoyama's laboratory, showed that some natural killer cells never leave the liver. She identified additional tissue-resident natural killer cells in the skin and uterus.

Sojka also experimented with transcription factors molecular switches that turn a number of genes on and off. Among other results, she found that disabling one of these switches could prevent circulating natural killer cells from developing without affecting tissue-resident natural killer cells in the liver, skin and uterus. Disabling another transcription factor wiped out the liver and skin tissue-resident natural killer cells while having little effect on the circulating and uterus tissue-resident natural killer cells.

"If one group of cells absolutely needs a specific transcription factor to exist, while another group of cells doesn't care if that factor is gone, that strongly suggests the two groups of cells use distinct developmental pathways and are therefore different," Sojka said.

Her results point to at least four types of natural killer cells rather than just the one major type long recognized by immunologists. She is looking for groups of resident natural killer cells in other organs and investigating the origins and functions of those she already has identified.

"Conceptually, this is very different, a significant change in our thinking about how a very important part of the immune system works," said Yokoyama, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator.


'/>"/>

Contact: Michael C. Purdy
purdym@wustl.edu
314-286-0122
Washington University School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. New method isolates immune cells for researchers to study how they ward off oral diseases
2. Sensitive balance in the immune system
3. La Jolla Institute discovers new mechanism for unleashing immune system against cancer
4. Immune cell defenders could beat invading bacteria
5. Newly discovered molecule may offer hope for immune disorders and runaway inflammation
6. IRCM researchers uncover a new function for an important player in the immune response
7. Study finds that fast-moving cells in the human immune system walk in a stepwise manner
8. An inventive new way to profile immune cells in blood
9. Scientists learn how pathogens hack our immune systems to go undetected
10. Study in mice raises question: Could PTSD involve immune response to stress?
11. Vitamin A used in acne medicines may help autoimmune and transplant patients
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/27/2017)... 27, 2017   Strategic Cyber Ventures , the ... led a $3.5 million investment in  Polarity , the ... Ventures is DC based and is led by cybersecurity ... . Ron Gula , also a longtime cybersecurity ... in this series A round of funding. This new ...
(Date:2/21/2017)... , February 21, 2017 ... 70 Millionen US-Dollar wachsen. Nach einem Gespräch mit mehr als ... einige Hindernisse zu überwinden gilt, um diese Prognose zu ... ... anderem die Mobilisierung der finanziellen Mittel für die Biobank, ...
(Date:2/10/2017)... Research and Markets has announced the addition of ... Commercial Aspects" to their offering. ... Biomarkers play an important ... selection of treatment as well for monitoring the results. There ... modern medicine. Biochip/microarray technologies and next generation sequencing are also ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:3/27/2017)... YORK , March 27, 2017 ... developing novel therapies for neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer,s ... that its application to list the Company,s common ... approved by The NASDAQ Stock Market, a unit ... the listing, Neurotrope will ring the Opening Bell at ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... Sinovac Biotech Ltd. ("Sinovac" or the "Company") (NASDAQ: SVA), a leading ... announced that its board of directors has amended its shareholder rights ... 27, 2017 to March 27, 2018. The amendment was not in response ... ... Biotech Ltd. is a China -based biopharmaceutical company ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... ... March 23, 2017 , ... AxioMed ... both viscous and elastic characteristics when deformed, which is identical to how the ... gently absorb compressive forces and return to its natural state along a hysteresis ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... Mass. , March 23, 2017 /PRNewswire/ ... partner to global in vitro diagnostics manufacturers ... of the industry,s first multiplexed Inherited ... disease testing by next-generation sequencing (NGS). The ... were developed with input from industry experts ...
Breaking Biology Technology: