Pulmonary emphysema is caused primarily by cigarette smoking, and the underlying cellular mechanisms are thought to involve smoke-induced activation of tissue degrading enzymes known as proteases. Elastases are proteases that specifically degrade the structural protein elastin and include enzymes such as MMP-12 (matrix metalloproteinase –12, also called macrophage metalloelastase), which is secreted by inflammatory cells called macrophages.
Now, researcher A. McGarry Houghton and colleagues at Harvard Medical School in Massachusetts, report that elastases cause emphysema in mice through the generation of pro-inflammatory elastin fragments.
The study appears online on February 9 in advance of print publication in the March issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation. The authors found that mice that had inhaled pancreatic elastase or who were exposed to cigarette smoke developed elastin fragments in their lungs, macrophage accumulation, and emphysema. However, when the researchers blocked the activity of elastin fragments using a specific anti-elastin antibody, the macrophage numbers were reduced, and the emphysema was prevented in both models. Using cultured human monocytes (macrophage precursor cells), the authors demonstrate that elastin fragments are chemotactic, meaning that they are able to attract inflammatory cells.
Molecular Force Sensors
20.09.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biochemie
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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!
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For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems Holding GmbH about commercial use of a multi-well tissue plate for automated and reliable tissue engineering & drug testing.
MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems...
Pathogenic bacteria are becoming resistant to common antibiotics to an ever increasing degree. One of the most difficult germs is Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a...
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