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Mount Sinai researchers discover new target for vaccine development in abundant immune cells
Date:7/24/2012

important because we discovered a completely new function in an immune cell that has been studied since immunology research began," said Dr. Cerutti. "The interactivity of the neutrophils in the innate immune system with the B-cells of the more sophisticated adaptive immune system shows that neutrophils operate at a much higher level than previously thought and play a very critical role in mounting a robust response to infection."

Dr. Cerutti's team also evaluated the spleens of people with a condition called neutropenia, which is characterized by a shortage in neutrophils and a compromised immune system, and found that the marginal zones in the spleens of these patients had fewer B-cells and antibodies. This demonstrates the necessity of having neutrophils interact with marginal zone B-cells to generate an innate layer of antibody defense. The fact that the research team found an abundance of neutrophils and marginal zone B-cells in the spleens from healthy individuals, but not neutropenic patients, indicates that these cells are primed and prepared to launch multi-level antibody production in healthy humans, even in the absence of a pathogen.

"Since neutrophils boost and reprogram B-cells to strengthen the immune system regardless of whether there is an infection, we may be able to harness them in vaccine development to enhance immune protection," said Dr. Cerutti. "This has significant promise in vaccinating against blood-borne infections, as B-cells are the first line of defense to antigens in the circulatory system. If we can improve vaccines with neutrophil-activating agents, we may have a chance to boost B-cell antibody production, and improve immune protection."

With this new knowledge, Dr. Cerutti and his collaborator Meimei Shan, PhD, from Mount Sinai, are evaluating neutrophil activation and B-cell antibody production in rhesus monkeys vaccinated against Simian Immunodeficiency Virus (SIV), or HIV as it occurs in monkeys, using
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Contact: Mount Sinai Press Office
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The Mount Sinai Hospital / Mount Sinai School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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