Navigation Links
Rare disorder gives modelers first glimpse at immune system development
Date:6/16/2009

DURHAM, N.C. -- Children born without thymus glands have given Duke University Medical Center researchers a rare opportunity to watch as a new immune system develops its population of infection-fighting T-cells.

Researchers led by Thomas Kepler, Ph.D., Division Chief of Computational Biology, tracked three young patients after thymus tissue transplantation to measure the growth of a T cell population with all of its diversity. Duke University pioneered thymus transplantation for children born with DiGeorge Syndrome, lacking a thymus, under the direction of Louise Markert, M.D., Ph.D.

As transplanted thymus tissue took hold in the children, the team studied signals related to specific T-cell receptors and more general resources like cytokine signals or space availability. They assessed T cell receptor diversity to determine overall T cell levels and to count T cells of certain kinds.

"What we haven't understood until now is how maintaining the diversity of T cells with different receptors works while a body also maintains appropriate T cell numbers overall," said Kepler, who is senior author of a paper published in PloS Computational Biology. "Our paper is the first to use information about changes in T cell receptor diversity to infer properties of the T cell regulatory mechanisms."

The immune system needs a variety of different T cells to fight all kinds of pathogens. "The fastest way to grow the total T cell population is to impede diversity and grow just a few kinds of T cells," Kepler said. "We set out to understand more about the regulation of this fine balance."

Kepler and lead author Stanca Ciupe, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow in computational immunology, created mathematical formulas to model the contribution of resources on the regulation of T cell population growth and diversity. They found that factors that are blind to T cell receptors and treat all T cells alike are a thousand times more common than the factors that regulate receptor-specific development of T cells.

"The findings open up the possibility of studying the development of T cells in children with DiGeorge syndrome in a rigorous and quantifiable way, because we can determine which factors are most important," said Markert, a Duke Associate Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Allergy and Immunology.

For example, one of the transplants appeared not to be functioning, based on a biopsy. Using the computations devised for this research, however, the team was able to track the rise in certain types of T cells the transplant took longer to develop T cells than most other cases. In the end, the child's immune system matured, T cells developed, and the child avoided undergoing a second transplantation.

"What is novel is our ability to take the results from assays and quantify them to get a numerical measure of diversity, to get a picture of what really happens when T cells mature," Ciupe said. "Secondly, we were able to develop a mathematical model to feed the data into."

"It will require a significant mathematical effort to see the full promise of human systems biology come to fruition," Kepler said. "So much scientific work is done in model organisms, but we can't manipulate humans in those ways. This paper shows that with more sophisticated mathematical tools, you can get the information you need to learn about human biology without enormous amounts of manipulation of people."

Ciupe said that using applying mathematics to biological systems and biological engineering will continue to develop new applications for humans. Mathematics might help to deliberately design human vaccines, for instance. "Physics and mathematics have a symbiotic relationship and resulted in the laws of physics," she said. "Combining biology and math is an iterative process, and someday we may have laws of biology in the same way."


'/>"/>

Contact: Mary Jane Gore
mary.gore@duke.edu
919-660-1309
Duke University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Gene May Help Spur Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
2. Bipolar disorder relapses halved by Melbourne researchers
3. New Database to Help Speed Search for Bipolar Disorder Genes
4. Study documents rapid increase in youth bipolar disorder diagnoses
5. School-based overweight prevention program may cut risk of eating disorders among girls
6. APA Comments on FDAs First Approval of Medication to Treat Pediatric Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder
7. The Philadelphia Walk Now for Autism Expected to Draw 10,000 Walkers and Raise $1 Million to Help Find Answers About the Nations Fastest-Growing Developmental Disorder
8. University of Iowa professor identifies new eating disorder
9. Pregnancy may increase the risk of developing binge eating disorder
10. UCLA receives $22.5 million to explore the fundamental biology of mental disorders
11. Oncologists are critical in managing psychiatric disorders in patients with advanced cancer
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... ... (SOP) alumni Hannah Randall, PharmD ‘17, and Jennifer Huggins, PharmD ’17, along ... updates for the primary prevention of cardiovascular diseases during the 15th Annual ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... ... The Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) of Somerset Hills is proud to host ... items from across the nation, this holiday-themed event will raise funds and awareness for ... The boutique will be open Saturday, November 4 (10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.) ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... October 13, 2017 , ... ... will be giving viewers the lowdown on sciatica in a new episode of ... that focuses on current events and innovation and investigates each subject in-depth with ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... First Healthcare Compliance (FHC), an ... showcase a range of technology and learning solutions at the 68th Annual American ... to be held October 14–18, 2017 at the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... IsoComforter, Inc. ( https://isocomforter.com ... introduction of an innovative new design of the shoulder pad. The shoulder pad ... comfort while controlling your pain while using cold therapy. By utilizing ice and water ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:9/28/2017)... WASHINGTON , Sept. 28, 2017 Cohen ... to advance the use of wearable and home sensors ... brain disorders. Early Signal Foundation, a nonprofit organization focused ... populations, will provide an affordable analytical system to record ... ...
(Date:9/27/2017)... NEW YORK , Sept. 27, 2017  DarioHealth Corp. (NASDAQ: DRIO), ... solutions, today announced that its MyDario product is expected to appear on ... for when The Dr. Oz Show airs in your area: http://www.doctoroz.com/page/where-watch-dr-oz-show ... The nine-time Emmy award-winning, The Dr. ... ...
(Date:9/25/2017)... , Sept. 25, 2017  EpiVax, Inc., ... vaccine design, and immune-engineering today announced the launch ... the development of personalized therapeutic cancer vaccines. EpiVax ... provided exclusive access to enabling technologies to the ... MBA will lead EpiVax Oncology as Chief Executive ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: