Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


GSF scientists examine the role of small sputum macrophages in the widespread disease chronic obstructive bronchitis


COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) is one of the most common fatal diseases worldwide. In Germany alone, there are about 3-5 million patients affected. COPD includes both chronic obstructive bronchitis and emphysema. Both represent irreversible changes of the central and lower respiratory tract which are accompanied by coughing, mucus production and difficulty in breathing.

The increased production of mucus is induced by the immigration of neutrophilic granulocytes and macrophages. This can be further accompanied by the destruction of the bronchial epithelium and the alveolar septae and thus lead to emphysema. The disease progresses in episodic bursts; although it cannot be cured, early diagnosis and appropriate therapy allow it to bring the symptoms under control.

Macrophages play a central role in the air passages and the lung periphery (the alveoli). Macrophages originate in the bone marrow. Before entering the blood stream, these cells differentiate through precursor myelomonocytes to monocytes which migrate into the tissues and are then called macrophages. One of the major tasks of macrophages is to take up foreign particles, like bacteria, viruses, and aerosol particles, by phagocytosis.

Light microscope investigations of the leucocyte populations in induced sputum showed that in COPD patients up to 84% of the cells are neutrophils with macrophages comprising only 15%, whereas in healthy people macrophages form the majority (60%) of the leucocytes and only 36%, are neutrophils. The GSF clinical cooperation group "Inflammatory Lung Diseases" led by Marion Frankenberger has now succeeded in identifying a discrete new population of macrophages, smaller than the macrophages seen previously, among the cells in induced sputum from COPD patients.

The scientists have named this population "small sputum macrophages". In healthy controls, this population constitutes only a small proportion, around 7%, of all macrophages, whereas in COPD patients it can rise to 90% of all macrophages during an acute episode. The first results indicate that the small sputum macrophages can contribute to the differential diagnosis of COPD and asthma, since they are only slightly increased in asthma patients compared to controls.

The inflammatory process in COPD remains poorly understood. It is possible that the small sputum macrophages play a central role in the pathogenesis of COPD. These cells exhibit characteristics of strongly activated inflammatory cells and might therefore play a crucial role in the inflammation of the respiratory tract in COPD.

Michael van den Heuvel | alfa
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Novel mechanisms of action discovered for the skin cancer medication Imiquimod
21.10.2016 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Second research flight into zero gravity
21.10.2016 | Universität Zürich

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

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...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

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

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>