If you ever thought the stress of seeing your extended family over the holidays was slowly killing you—bad news: a new research report in the December 2009 print issue of the Journal of Leukocyte Biology (http://www.jleukbio.org) shows that you might be right.
Here's the good news: results from the same study might lead to entirely new treatments that help keep autoimmune diseases like lupus, arthritis, and eczema under control. That's because researchers from the University of Connecticut Health Center have found that the same part of our nervous system that is responsible for the fight-or-flight response (called the sympathetic nervous system) also controls regulatory T cells, which are used by the body to end an immune response once a foreign invader has been removed or destroyed.
"We show for the first time that the nervous system controls the central immune police cells, called regulatory T cells," said Robert E. Cone, Ph.D., a senior researcher in whose laboratory the work was done at the University of Connecticut Health Center. "This further shows that it is imperative to concentrate on the neuro-immune interactions and to understand how these two different systems, the immune and nervous systems, interact."
To make this discovery, Cone, Sourojit Bhowmick and colleagues injected some mice with a drug called 6-hyroxydopamine (6-OHDA) that selectively removes sympathetic nerves located in different organs, or a saline solution. Mice injected with 6-OHDA, which effectively severed the link between the nervous system and the immune system had twice as many regulatory T cells as the control group in their spleens and lymph nodes. Further analysis showed that the increase in regulatory T cells resulted from an increase in a protein called "TGF-beta," which directs the development and survival of regulatory T cells. With this information in hand, Cone and colleagues then sought to see if 6-OHDA would prevent autoimmune disorders from developing. To do this, they injected 6-OHDA or a saline solution into mice before subjecting them and a control group to conditions known to cause an autoimmune disease similar to multiple sclerosis in humans. Unlike the control group, the mice treated with 6-OHDA did not develop the autoimmune disease, showing that not only can the sympathetic nervous system negatively affect the immune system, but it also shows how it might be possible to prevent or stop autoimmune disorders.
"Ever since Hans Seyle's groundbreaking work on stress, scientists have been trying to understand why stressful situations often exacerbate autoimmune diseases and cause re-emergence of latent infections," said John Wherry, Ph.D., Deputy Editor of the Journal of Leukocyte Biology. "In true fight or flight situations, stress can be a lifesaver, but understanding how the neurological response to the stress of everyday events such as seeing your family around the holidays impacts immune responses should provide opportunities for new therapies."
The Journal of Leukocyte Biology (http://www.jleukbio.org) publishes peer-reviewed manuscripts on original investigations focusing on the cellular and molecular biology of leukocytes and on the origins, the developmental biology, biochemistry and functions of granulocytes, lymphocytes, mononuclear phagocytes and other cells involved in host defense and inflammation. The Journal of Leukocyte Biology is published by the Society for Leukocyte Biology.
Details: Sourojit Bhowmick, Anurag Singh, Richard A. Flavell, Robert B. Clark, James O'Rourke, and Robert E. Cone. The sympathetic nervous system modulates CD4+FoxP3+ regulatory T cells via a TGF-â-dependent mechanism. J Leukoc Biol 2009 86: 1275�. doi: 10.1189/jlb.0209107 ; http://www.jleukbio.org/cgi/content/abstract/86/6/1275
Cody Mooneyhan | EurekAlert!
At last, butterflies get a bigger, better evolutionary tree
16.02.2018 | Florida Museum of Natural History
New treatment strategies for chronic kidney disease from the animal kingdom
16.02.2018 | Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien
Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale
Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...
For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.
But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...
Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.
The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...
Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters
Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...
Let’s say the armrest is broken in your vintage car. As things stand, you would need a lot of luck and persistence to find the right spare part. But in the world of Industrie 4.0 and production with batch sizes of one, you can simply scan the armrest and print it out. This is made possible by the first ever 3D scanner capable of working autonomously and in real time. The autonomous scanning system will be on display at the Hannover Messe Preview on February 6 and at the Hannover Messe proper from April 23 to 27, 2018 (Hall 6, Booth A30).
Part of the charm of vintage cars is that they stopped making them long ago, so it is special when you do see one out on the roads. If something breaks or...
15.02.2018 | Event News
13.02.2018 | Event News
12.02.2018 | Event News
16.02.2018 | Information Technology
16.02.2018 | Health and Medicine
16.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy