Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New findings challenge view of key part of immune defense

02.03.2011
The natural killer cells of our immune defense are activated for an extended period after the acute infection, which challenges the prevailing view that the elevation and activation of cells quickly pass. This is shown in a study regarding vole fever that was recently published by researchers at Umeå University, Sweden in Journal of Experimental Medicine.

These are findings of a years-long project where patients with vole fever, a northern Swedish hemorrhagic fever that has been studied with regard to natural killer (NK) cells. Vole fever is a common infection in northern Sweden that is caused by a hantavirus, Puumala virus, which is prevalent in bank voles and infects humans primarily via inhalation of virus-contaminated dust.

The symptoms are primarily high fever, head and muscle pain, abdominal pain, and generally impacted condition. Involvement of the kidneys and lungs are common. There is no dedicated and effective treatment today. As vole fever is a hemorrhagic fever, there is often a pronounced reduction in blood platelets, and bleeding complications occur. Some 30 % of the diagnosed cases are hospitalized. Mortality is 0.5 % owing to bleeding, shock, and multiple organ failure.

The Umeå researchers, led by assistant professor Clas Ahlm, have used a unique patient cohort to study the expansion of NK cells and their activity in the course of the infection in collaboration with scientists at the Karolinska institute. The material was gathered during and following the major outbreak of vole fever in 2007. There have been few previous studies of NK cells in acute viral infections in humans, even though they are regarded as part of our so-called innate immunity. The Puumala virus itself is not cytopatogenic, i.e. doesn’t kill the infected cells. The Umeå scientists’ hypothesis is therefore that part of the pathological mechanism in vole fever involves the immune defense against the virus infection, which is further supported by these findings.

The study revealed an expansion of NK cells. This expansion persisted for an extended period after the acute infection, which surprised the researchers. This finding challenges to some extent the previous view that the elevation and activation of NK cells quickly subsides in acute viral infections. The results of the study indicate that some NK cells may have memory-like functions.

Hemorrhagic fevers are best known as exotic diseases with high mortality rates that primarily ravage Africa. They are caused by hantaviruses that often infect humans from animals, so-called zoonos. The Ebola virus is probably the best-known variant. The Marburg virus is another. Viruses that cause hemorrhagic fevers are most often categorized as class 3-4 infectious agents, the class that requires the highest level of security when handled. for more information about this.

For more information, please contact Clas Ahlm, assistant professor at the Department of Clinical Microbiology, infectious diseases, at: +46 (0)90-785 23 09; e-mail clas.ahlm@climi.umu.se

The article “Rapid expansion and long-term persistence of elevated NK cell numbers in humans infected with hantavirus”. (J Exp Med 2011 Jan 17)

A high-resolution portrait picture of Clas Ahlm is found on http://www.umu.se/digitalAssets/65/65144_ahlm_clas_0813_110301_mpn.jpg

Bertil Born | idw
Further information:
http://jem.rupress.org/content/208/1/13
http://f1000.com/7906956

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds
26.05.2017 | Cornell University

nachricht How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system
26.05.2017 | Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

First Juno science results supported by University of Leicester's Jupiter 'forecast'

26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>