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

sible," reports Prof. Kurts. The neutrophils are regulated by other immune cells, known as macrophages. It has been known for a long time that macrophages produce various messengers which influence other immune cells. How they regulate the neutrophils has been unclear to date, however.

The team of researchers has now figured out that this regulation takes place through two types of macrophages. "An important result is that these two types of macrophages perform different functions," says Prof. Kurts. One type of macrophage is present in all tissues and exerts a sentinel function. As soon as pathogens penetrate, they are detected by these sentinel macrophages which then trigger an alarm. This takes place through the release of certain messenger moleculess, the chemokines, which lure the neutrophils into infected tissue in the bladder, in this case.

Safety mechanism for potent defense cells

In addition, the sentinel macrophages lure the other type, which the scientists refer to as helper macrophages. These cells likewise discern that there is an infection and communicate this to the sentinel macrophages. The latter then begin to release other chemokines, which allows the neutrophils to reach the bacteria in the infected part of the bladder. "The sentinel macrophages obtain a second opinion as to whether the infection they discerned is so dangerous that the neutrophils should be activated," explains Dr. Engel. This is a safety mechanism whereby the potent defense cells only penetrate into the infected part of the bladder if there is actual danger.

The communication between the two types of macrophages takes place via the messenger tumor necrosis factor (TNF). "This molecule plays a central role in various immune-mediated diseases," says Prof. Kurts. Using drugs that block TNF, rheumatoid arthritis or chronic inflammatory bowel disease, for example, can be treated very effectively. However, bacterial infections, including uri
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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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