Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Immunologists from the University of Bonn topple dogma

14.02.2014
An international team of scientists under the leadership of the University of Bonn disproves a dogma

To date, immunologists have assumed that the macrophages functioning as "scavenger cells" can be classified into two different forms. In an extensive search, the researchers have now discovered that these immune cells turn into far more different manifestations.


Colored visualization differently programmed macrophages.
(c) Photo: Jia Xue / Uni Bonn

These findings also give rise to completely new therapeutic approaches for many widespread diseases. The results are now being published in the renowned journal "Immunity".

In the body, macrophages go on patrol as "scavenger cells" and act to eliminate intruders. According to the commonly held belief in immunology, they are divided into two groups, firstly into "classical macrophages" which spur on inflammatory processes, and secondly into "alternative macrophages" which shut down inflammation. Researchers from the University of Bonn, together with their colleagues at the University of Bonn Hospital and from Worcester (USA) and Edinburgh (Scotland) are now toppling this dogma: In a breakthrough discovery, the scientists disprove this simple classification for the scavenger cells.

Macrophages process complex information like a computer

"Many macrophages do not fit this pattern," says Prof. Dr. med. Joachim L. Schultze from the Life & Medical Sciences (LIMES) Institute of the University of Bonn. "Rather, this simple concept stands in the way of innovative therapeutic approaches." According to the researchers' results, the macrophages react to many different stimuli, for example messengers which they process in the most complex way, like a computer. Therefore they do not just differentiate between macrophages which fuel inflammation or anti-inflammatory macrophages, as previously believed. Rather, the scientists have found at least nine different forms which use their weapons to optimally fight intruders in different ways.

The scientists from the LIMES Institute of the University of Bonn used blood samples from different people in order to obtain as many different macrophages as possible from the precursor cells in the samples using various growth factors. While these scavenger cells mature, certain genes are activated in their DNA. The researchers identify which genes these are by means of so-called RNA which functions in the cell as a genetic messenger. "With complex bioinformatic analyses, we obtained a type of fingerprint for each macrophage which showed us which genes in the cell were directly active," reports Prof. Schultze. Using this genetic fingerprint, the scientists were able to deduce which combination of stimuli led to the macrophage developing in a particular direction.

The dawn of completely new therapeutic options

For their bioinformatic data sets, the researchers then performed the acid test: Macrophages were obtained from the lungs of smokers and compared with the same scavenger cells in healthy lungs. It could be seen that the macrophages from smokers' lungs could not be allocated to either the kind that fuels inflammation or to the anti-inflammatory type. The scientist is convinced that "We have to step away from the simple classification of macrophages and investigate them more closely in respective connections with diseases." "When we depart from the conventional pattern, fully new concepts open up."

Much about the activation of macrophages and thus about classical immune reactions can be discerned from the genetic fingerprints. "This is the dawn of new therapy options," says Prof. Schultze. Because macrophages play a role in many widespread diseases including, for example, arteriosclerosis, obesity, diabetes, asthma, Alzheimer's disease and cancer.

Publication: Transcriptome-based network analysis reveals a spectrum model of human macrophage activation, "Immunity"

Contact information:

Prof. Dr. med. Joachim L. Schultze
Life & Medical Sciences (LIMES) Institute
Tel. 0228/7362787
E-Mail: j.schultze@uni-bonn.de
Weitere Informationen:
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.immuni.2014.01.006
Publication

Johannes Seiler | idw
Further information:
http://www.uni-bonn.de

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht New study points the way to therapy for rare cancer that targets the young
22.11.2017 | Rockefeller University

nachricht Penn study identifies new malaria parasites in wild bonobos
21.11.2017 | University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Frictional Heat Powers Hydrothermal Activity on Enceladus

Computer simulation shows how the icy moon heats water in a porous rock core

Heat from the friction of rocks caused by tidal forces could be the “engine” for the hydrothermal activity on Saturn's moon Enceladus. This presupposes that...

Im Focus: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Underwater acoustic localization of marine mammals and vehicles

23.11.2017 | Information Technology

Enhancing the quantum sensing capabilities of diamond

23.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Meadows beat out shrubs when it comes to storing carbon

23.11.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>