Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Dendritic cells protect against acute pancreatitis

Researchers identify new therapeutic target for pancreas' dangerous, sudden swelling and inflammation

NYU Langone Medical Center researchers have discovered the novel protective role dendritic cells play in the pancreas. The new study, published in the November issue of journal Gastroenterology, shows dendritic cells can safeguard the pancreas against acute pancreatitis, a sudden dangerous swelling and inflammation of the pancreas gland.

"Our study findings demonstrate that an abundance of dendritic cells are needed in the pancreas for normal, healthy pancreatic function, especially when there are high levels of inflammation caused by acute pancreatitis," said senior author George Miller, MD, assistant professor, Departments of Surgery and Cell Biology at NYU Langone Medical Center. "The study shows that dendritic cells can alleviate cellular stress caused by severe inflammation."

In the new study, researchers found high levels of dendritic cells in the pancreas can protect the organ from acute pancreatitis damage while low levels of dendritic cells in the pancreas are associated with exacerbated pancreas injury including pancreatic necrosis, complete pancreas cell and tissue death.

The pancreas is a vital hormone and enzyme-producing gland assisting in the human body's digestion and absorption of food. However, the gland can become inflamed leading to acute pancreatitis, a serious and potentially life-threatening condition, severe cases can lead to pancreatic necrosis. Its two percent overall mortality rate jumps to 10 to 30 percent in patients with pancreatic necrosis. The disorder results in 200,000 hospital admissions and two billion dollars annually in medical expenses in the United States.

Pancreatitis can be acute or chronic, developing over time. It's caused by gallstones, alcohol abuse, or medications. Symptoms include abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, and current treatments include hospitalization, medication, restricted diet or surgery. Pancreatitis can be reduced or prevented with removal of the gall bladder, limiting alcohol intake or prescription medication.

Dendritic cells in the body have emerged as important cellular mediators of inflammation. Previous studies by NYU Langone researchers and others have shown the ability of dendritic cells in the body to suppress inflammation in a number of organ-specific inflammatory conditions including liver injury. Upon exposure to inflammation, dendritic cells suppress inflammation by activating an immune response. However, the cellular regulation of acute pancreatitis was not completely understood until now.

In the new study, researchers induced mice models with acute pancreatitis. As a result, the level of dendritic cells in the pancreas increased by two-fold. This observation identified the innate immune system response of dendritic cells to the excessive swelling and inflammation of the pancreas gland. In addition, researchers tested the effects of dendritic cell depletion in acute pancreatitis mice models. Their experiments showed mice with depleted dendritic cell levels developed pancreatic necrosis and died within four days. Dendritic cell depletion was also associated with a higher infiltration of white blood cells and inflammation markers. The negative effects of dendritic cell depletion experiments show the critical protective role these cells play in pancreatic organ survival.

"We now have a greater understanding of dendritic cells, the key cellular mediators of inflammation, during dangerous acute pancreatitis. These cells play a central role in acute pancreatitis and are required for the pancreas' viability," said Dr. Miller, a member of the NYU Cancer Institute. "Our novel findings show depletion of dendritic cells result in the massive increase in severe pancreas inflammation, injury and organ destruction. We are now one step closer to more effective treatments for this harmful human condition."

The study suggests dendritic cells in the pancreas as new therapeutic targets for reducing any cellular stress on the pancreas from pancreatitis. Further research is needed to elucidate dendritic cell function and develop an immune-directed therapy against acute pancreatitis.

Lead co-authors of the study at NYU Langone included Andrea Bedrosian, MD, research fellow and surgery resident, Department of Surgery and Andrew H. Nguyen, MD. This study was supported by grants from the National Pancreas Foundation, the Society of University Surgeons, and National Institutes of Health.

About NYU Langone Medical Center

NYU Langone Medical Center, a world-class, patient-centered, integrated, academic medical center, is one on the nation's premier centers for excellence in clinical care, biomedical research and medical education. Located in the heart of Manhattan, NYU Langone is composed of three hospitals – Tisch Hospital, its flagship acute care facility; the Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine, the world's first university-affiliated facility devoted entirely to rehabilitation medicine; and the Hospital for Joint Diseases, one of only five hospitals in the nation dedicated to orthopaedics and rheumatology – plus the NYU School of Medicine, which since 1841 has trained thousands of physicians and scientists who have helped to shape the course of medical history. The medical center's tri-fold mission to serve, teach and discover is achieved 365 days a year through the seamless integration of a culture devoted to excellence in patient care, education and research. For more information, go to

Lauren Woods | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht First time-lapse footage of cell activity during limb regeneration
25.10.2016 | eLife

nachricht Phenotype at the push of a button
25.10.2016 | Institut für Pflanzenbiochemie

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Greater Range and Longer Lifetime

26.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VDI presents International Bionic Award of the Schauenburg Foundation

26.10.2016 | Awards Funding

3-D-printed magnets

26.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

More VideoLinks >>>