Navigation Links
Studying illnesses caused by worms: Scientists are learning how immune cells communicate

Saranac Lake, N.Y. A billion people living in underdeveloped areas around the world are infected with parasitic helminthes, worms that survive by residing in and feeding on their hosts. These infestations can cause chronic intestinal (and occasionally systemic) illnesses leading to long-term disability. Irah King and Markus Mohrs, biomedical researchers at the Trudeau Institute, are investigating illnesses caused by these gut-dwelling worms in an effort to decipher how immune cells send and receive signals that determine the specific immune response to mount.

In a study reported in the current issue of the Journal of Immunology, Dr. King and his colleagues demonstrate that a soluble factor released by CD4+ T cells (a subset of cells that aid B cells in generating an immune response) called interleukin-21 (IL-21) instructs B cells to produce antibodies that bind helminth-derived products and inhibit their ability to mature into adult worms in the host.

Using genetically modified mice that lack the receptor for IL-21, they found that B cells directly require IL-21 signals in order to differentiate into plasma cells, the major antibody-producing B cell subset. The role of IL-21 signaling in this context seems to be specific because it does not impact other forms of B cell activation or CD4+ T cell differentiation, another leukocyte subset critical for protective immunity to helminthes.

"It is already established that B cells must produce antibodies to protect us from gut-dwelling worms and other parasitic infections," said Dr. King. "However, the signals that B cells need to receive in order to produce antibodies following infection are not yet completely understood."

Scientists who study anti-parasite immunity understand that immune responses generated by worm infections are in many ways similar to responses generated by diseases more common in the developed world like asthma, allergies, and ulcerative colitis. By identifying these similarities, Dr. King and other researchers hope to point to new treatments and therapies for a host of diseases associated with problems in immune system regulation.


Contact: Brian Turner
Trudeau Institute

Related biology news :

1. Carnegie Mellon receives funding to create new program studying environmental impact of nanotechnology
2. New retrieval method makes studying cancer proteins easier
3. Introducing Robofish: Leading the crowd in studying group dynamics
4. Studying cells in 3-D could reveal new cancer targets
5. New lab manual for studying the biology of the nervous system in Drosophila is released
6. Studying hair of ancient Peruvians answers questions about stress
7. Exploration by explosion: Studying the inner realm of living cells
8. Model microbial community for studying expanding dead zones characterized
9. Geologists studying groundwater arsenic levels in India empower Bengali women, children
10. K-State receives more than $780,000 to fund graduate students studying ecology, evolution, genomics
11. LSU receives $3.6 million to fund center studying hazardous waste cleanup and health impacts
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/9/2015)... JOSE, Calif. , Nov. 9, 2015  Synaptics ... human interface solutions, today announced broader entry into the ... vehicle-specific solutions that match the pace of consumer electronics ... and biometric sensors are ideal for the automotive industry ... vehicle. Europe , ...
(Date:10/29/2015)... RESTON, Va. , Oct. 29, 2015 ... announced today that it has released a new version ... Daon customers in North America ... gains. IdentityX v4.0 also includes a FIDO UAF ... customers are already preparing to activate FIDO features. These ...
(Date:10/27/2015)... , Oct. 27, 2015 In the present ... of concern for various industry verticals such as banking, ... to the growing demand for secure & simplified access ... ,sectors, such as hacking of bank accounts, misuse of ... equipment such as PC,s, laptops, and smartphones are expected ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... 25, 2015 , ... Jessica Richman and Zachary Apte, founders ... initial angel funding process. Now, they are paying it forward to other microbiome ... investments in the microbiome space. In this, they join other successful entrepreneurs-turned-angels ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... 2015 Halozyme Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: HALO ) will ... New York on Wednesday, December 2 at 9:30 a.m. ... and CEO, will provide a corporate overview. th ... at 1:00 p.m. ET/10:00 a.m. PT . Jim Mazzola ... a corporate overview. --> th Annual Oppenheimer Healthcare ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... CITY , Nov. 24, 2015 /PRNewswire/ - Aeterna ... request of IIROC on behalf of the Toronto Stock ... news release there are no corporate developments that would ... --> --> About ... . --> Aeterna Zentaris is ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... ... The Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA), led by its Executive Council, has officially ... to represent the First–Person View (FPV) racing community. , FPV racing has exploded in ... racing and several new model aviation pilots have joined the community because of their ...
Breaking Biology Technology: