Navigation Links
Spleen May Help Heart Recover From Disease
Date:7/30/2009

Low-profile organ plays a big role in immune response, study finds,,

THURSDAY, July 30 (HealthDay News) -- Though its reputation doesn't rank down there with the appendix, the spleen isn't exactly known as a vital organ. In fact, plenty of people do fine without it.

But new research suggests the spleen plays a bigger role in the immune system than previously thought.

In mice, scientists found, the spleen serves as a home for a type of white blood cell that scavenges dead tissue and helps produce inflammation, which contributes to healing. In particular, the researchers discovered that the spleen helps the heart recover from disease.

"While the spleen may not be essential for your survival, it plays a crucial role once you are sick," said study author Filip K. Swirski, an immunology instructor at Harvard Medical School.

The findings could lead to a better understanding of the immune system, including its response to cancer, Swirski said. And it definitely improves the profile of a little-understood organ.

It's much more obscure than, say, the liver or kidneys, but the spleen still takes up a lot of space. In humans, it's about the size of a large eggplant and shaped like a kidney, Swirski said.

Scientists have known that the spleen recycles red blood cells and scans the blood for germs. "It serves as a filtering system," Swirski said. "It captures viruses or bacteria, and can elicit an inflammatory response."

Inflammation -- think of the redness around a wound -- indicates that the immune system is rushing in to defend the body.

But people often do just fine without their spleens. Traumatic injuries, such as those sustained in traffic accidents, often result in surgery to remove the spleen. And surgeons remove spleens from people with some medical conditions, including non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

In their study, the researchers examined mice to see if having a spleen helped the mice recover from induced heart disease. A 1977 study of veterans who'd had their spleens removed suggested they had twice the risk of dying of heart disease, Swirski said.

They found that the spleen did indeed appear to help the heart, through white-blood cells known as monocytes. The spleen served as a home for many of the cells, Swirski said.

A report on the study appears in the July 31 issue of Science.

"This just adds another function to the spleen," Swirski said. "It's not only a place where blood cells come to die and where the immune system screens for infection. It's relevant to how the immune system is mobilized."

Future research could explore how to boost the spleen's role in the immune system's response or keep it from being hijacked by germs, he added.

In a commentary accompanying the study, two doctors from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City suggest the spleen is still as "dispensable," despite the new findings. But, they wrote, the spleen does seem "a bit more purposeful and deserving of recognition."

More information

The Journal of the American Medical Association has more about the spleen.



SOURCE: Filip K. Swirski, Ph.D., instructor, immunology, Harvard Medical School, Boston; July 31, 2009, Science


'/>"/>
Copyright©2009 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Drug for cluster headaches may cause heart problems
2. Use of certain lipid measures not more effective in predicting coronary heart disease
3. Restricting Blood Flow May Help Heart Bypass Patients
4. Urban Smog Tough on Young Adults Hearts
5. Stanford study highlights cost-effective method of lowering heart disease risks
6. Vitamin Es lack of heart benefit linked to dosage
7. Drug That Lowers Resting Heart Rate Being Tested
8. Heart Attack Boosts Diabetes Risk
9. Embryonic Stem Cells Repair Human Heart
10. U of M study: Early treatment can reverse heart damage
11. Embryonic Human Stem Cells May Help Repair Heart Muscle, Lab Study Shows
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/11/2016)... ... February 12, 2016 , ... The Journal of ... from 0.416 in 2013. The SJR uses data taken from the Scopus database (Elsevier ... the number of citations received by the journal over a three year period and ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... ... 2016 , ... The president released a FY 2017 budget request on Tuesday ... of the cost burden to military beneficiaries. , MOAA’s president, retired Air Force ... as including limited quantifiable benefit fixes mixed with numerous beneficiary fee hikes. , “We ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... ... 11, 2016 , ... Hall Integrative Health and Chiropractic, PC ... simultaneous grand openings in March. All seven practices are set to start accepting ... reversing diabetes possible? According to this 2011 CNN article it is possible: ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... ... February 11, 2016 , ... ... women’s health, is pleased to announce the promotions of Allison Kelly to executive ... Steve Catone to executive vice president of North American capital sales, and Wendy ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Atlantic Information Services, Inc. (AIS) is pleased ... Study for Plans and Purchasers.” Executives from Intel Corp. and Providence Health & ... health benefits program Connected Care, will discuss the challenges they faced (and how ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:2/11/2016)... Fla. , Feb. 11, 2016 ... ) company providing high-quality specialty pharmacy care for ... announced today it has achieved full Specialty Pharmacy ... accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality ... --> --> The URAC accreditation ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... , Feb. 11, 2016  M3 Biotechnology Inc., spurred by a major "team investment" by ... brother, Michael, has completed an oversubscribed Series A-Round, according to CEO Leen Kawas , PhD. ... ... ... ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... 11, 2016 SI-BONE, Inc., a medical ... iFuse Implant System, a minimally invasive surgical (MIS) ... the sacroiliac (SI) joint, announced the publication of ... MIS SI joint fusion for patients suffering from ... or SI joint disruption.  In the first article, ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: