For the second time in two years, scientists at the Stanford University School of Medicine have discovered a new type of regulatory T cell that reduces asthma and airway inflammation in mice, bolstering the theory that a deficiency of such cells is a prime cause of the breathing disorder as well as allergies.
The teams research not only provides a detailed profile of these newfound cells but also sheds light on how such cells are related to other T cells and suggests that there exists a spectrum of regulatory T cells, known as Tregs, to be identified and studied. "Its likely that Tregs arent functioning or developing properly in people who suffer from asthma and allergies," said Dale Umetsu, MD, PhD, professor of pediatrics who led the research team. "This new understanding of the fine characteristics of regulatory T cells brings us closer to developing therapies that will provide cures for allergies, asthma, and perhaps a number of other diseases involving immune dysregulation," added Umetsu, who is also chief of the division of allergy and immunology at Lucile Packard Childrens Hospital at Stanford.
Humans have a variety of T cells - including regulatory (Tregs), helper (Th) and natural killer (NKTs) - and there are different types within each of those categories. But all of them play a critical role in how, ideally, the human immune system responds when invaded by viruses, bacteria and allergens: the cells fight the enemies - the viruses and bacteria - and ignore the innocuous visitors - the allergens. The problem for allergy and asthma sufferers is that the body responds to allergens as if they were reviled foes, engaging in a full-out battle that inflames airways and impedes breathing.
Katharine Miller | EurekAlert!
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25.09.2017 | University of Maryland
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At the productronica trade fair in Munich this November, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be presenting Laser-Based Tape-Automated Bonding, LaserTAB for short. The experts from Aachen will be demonstrating how new battery cells and power electronics can be micro-welded more efficiently and precisely than ever before thanks to new optics and robot support.
Fraunhofer ILT from Aachen relies on a clever combination of robotics and a laser scanner with new optics as well as process monitoring, which it has developed...
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
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