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White blood cell uses DNA 'catapult' to fight infection
Date:8/13/2008

nfections.

The toxic proteins released by eosinophils are not always helpful to the body, however, and can damage nearby tissues. The inflammation in some types of asthma and Crohn's disease, a chronic inflammatory disease of the bowel, is attributed to eosinophils. In fact, Simon and his team first found evidence of these DNA-protein traps in tissue taken from the digestive tracts of people with Crohn's disease.

Earlier studies suggested another type of white blood cell the neutrophil also expels DNA and granule proteins to kill bacteria. However, this DNA comes from the nucleus and its release causes the neutrophil to die. The eosinophil is able to survive after expelling its mitochondrial DNA.

The researchers hope to learn more about how eosiniphils expel mitochondrial DNA. They speculate that the explosive mechanism might rely on stored energy, similar to the way plants release pollen into the air. "We don't know how eosinophils are capable of catapulting mitochondrial DNA so quickly," says Gleich.

Future investigation may focus on how this energy is generated and how this new knowledge can be applied to the treatment of bacterial infections and inflammatory diseases related to eosinophils.


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Contact: Gerald J. Gleich, M.D.
801-581-6465
University of Utah Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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