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Immune cells need a second opinion
Date:2/4/2014

Bacterial urinary tract infections are a painful nuisance. A team of researchers led by scientists from the University of Bonn Medical Center has now decoded the way in which immune cells communicate with each other in defense against infections via the messenger tumor necrosis factor (TNF). The results are now being published in the renowned journal "Cell".

Urinary tract infections are amongst the most frequent infections and are triggered by intestinal bacteria which invade the urogenital tract through smear infections via the urethra. These infections are persistent because the bacteria are often not completely killed off. Nowadays the painful disease can be treated with antibiotics, however the infection can cause chronic kidney damage and possibly even promote the development of bladder cancer. "For this reason, a better understanding of the body's own mechanisms of defense against urinary tract infections is of great interest," says Prof. Dr. Christian Kurts from the Institute for Experimental Immunology of the University of Bonn Medical Center.

A group of researchers working with Prof. Kurts and his staff member Dr. Daniel Engel, in cooperation with an international team of scientists from Hamburg, Wrzburg, Aachen, Leuven, Yale and Heidelberg, have now described a new immunoregulatory mechanism which controls the defense in urinary tract infections. "Particularly powerful weapons of the immune system are the so-called neutrophils," says Dr. Engel. They are particularly effective at combating pathogens especially bacteria.

Minimize collateral damage in the tissue as much as possible

The neutrophils circulate in the blood and immediately penetrate into infected tissue in order to fight invasive bacteria there. They either eat up the intruders or kill them off by releasing toxins. "These powerful defense mechanisms must be controlled well so that they cause as little collateral damage in the tissue as pos
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Contact: Dr. Daniel Engel
daniel.engel@uni-bonn.de
49-228-287-11050
University of Bonn
Source:Eurekalert  

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