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 www.NYULMC.org.
Lauren Woods | EurekAlert!
Hunting pathogens at full force
22.03.2017 | Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung
A 155 carat diamond with 92 mm diameter
22.03.2017 | Universität Augsburg
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
22.03.2017 | Materials Sciences
22.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
22.03.2017 | Materials Sciences