Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

OHSU researchers make key immune system discovery

04.12.2002


Research may assist in the development of more effective vaccines and ability to boost immune systems of susceptible patients, such as the elderly



A key discovery about the immune system’s skill to fight off harmful disease-causing germs may lead to the ability to boost the immune systems of the elderly and otherwise susceptible, and offer more effective vaccines for the flu or AIDS, according to a study published in the November 29 issue of Science.

"This research is of particular interest to populations that are highly vulnerable to disease, such as the aging population," said Janko Nikolich-Zugich, M.D., Ph.D., a senior scientist at the Oregon Health & Science University Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute, who led the research. "We are currently facing the annual flu season where seniors are at a particularly higher risk than the rest of the population. In fact, the majority of the 20,000 people who die each year because of the flu are over 65 years of age. We hope that years down the road, this research finding will help us boost the immune systems of the elderly, reducing this staggering number of deaths."


Nikolich-Zugich and colleagues uncovered this finding by working with a mouse model to study T-cells, specialized white blood cells that can fight off infection when a disease-causing pathogen is detected. Their research not only provides significant information about the workings of the body’s immune system, it also points to the ways the body efficiently gets rid of pathogens and recovers from infection.

Specifically the researchers used mice infected with the herpes simplex virus to look at the quality of the T-cell response against the virus. They concentrated on molecules that sit on the surface of infected cells and alert T-cells. These molecules are part of the major histocompatability complex (MHC) system, a key component of the body’s immune defense system.

"The MHC molecules have two roles. First, they act like the traffic cops in the body. They look for invaders and, once they find them, they call in T-cells to defeat a pathogen," explained Nikolich-Zugich. "But, just as importantly, they also ’train’ T-cells when the pathogen is not around. They do this by selecting and expanding only those T-cells that can be appropriately directed to find and destroy a pathogen when it attacks."

"Up to this point, we did not know whether both of these roles were important in combating infection. What we determined was that the ’training’ function, previously overlooked, was exquisitely important," he said.

By providing "training" to a wide, diverse set of T-cells, some MHC molecules can ensure that the pathogen will be met by the very best T-cells, able to kill the pathogen promptly at the beginning of infection. The findings showed that this can prevent pathogen-induced disease and death. Thus, the more diverse set of T-cells an animal has, the better chance the cells have of detecting a pathogen early and successfully fighting it off. The fact that as people age their T-cell diversity drops helps explain why seniors are more susceptible to the flu and other diseases than the rest of the population.

The research team chose to study herpes because it is a virus that rarely mutates and is easier for the body to spot than other viruses like HIV, which can mutate rapidly. However, by devising ways to achieve and maintain T-cell diversity, researchers hope to achieve better detection of other pathogens, including the rapidly mutating ones such as the AIDS-causing HIV, and fight them off before infection progresses to a higher level. Similarly, maintaining T-cell diversity during aging would go a long way towards reducing age-related illness and death due to infectious diseases.

OHSU is Oregon’s only academic health and science center and includes four schools, two hospitals, numerous primary care and specialty clinics, research institutes and centers, interdisciplinary centers, and community service programs. All OHSU programs integrate the core missions of teaching, healing and discovery.


Martin Munguia | OHSU
Further information:
http://www.ohsu.edu/news/112702tcells.html

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht New leukemia treatment offers hope
23.09.2016 | King Abdullah University of Science and Technology

nachricht Alzheimer’s: Cellular Mechanism Provides Explanation Model for Declining Memory Performance
21.09.2016 | Deutsches Zentrum für Neurodegenerative Erkrankungen e.V. (DZNE)

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: OLED microdisplays in data glasses for improved human-machine interaction

The Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP has been developing various applications for OLED microdisplays based on organic semiconductors. By integrating the capabilities of an image sensor directly into the microdisplay, eye movements can be recorded by the smart glasses and utilized for guidance and control functions, as one example. The new design will be debuted at Augmented World Expo Europe (AWE) in Berlin at Booth B25, October 18th – 19th.

“Augmented-reality” and “wearables” have become terms we encounter almost daily. Both can make daily life a little simpler and provide valuable assistance for...

Im Focus: Artificial Intelligence Helps in the Discovery of New Materials

With the help of artificial intelligence, chemists from the University of Basel in Switzerland have computed the characteristics of about two million crystals made up of four chemical elements. The researchers were able to identify 90 previously unknown thermodynamically stable crystals that can be regarded as new materials. They report on their findings in the scientific journal Physical Review Letters.

Elpasolite is a glassy, transparent, shiny and soft mineral with a cubic crystal structure. First discovered in El Paso County (Colorado, USA), it can also be...

Im Focus: Complex hardmetal tools out of the 3D printer

For the first time, Fraunhofer IKTS shows additively manufactured hardmetal tools at WorldPM 2016 in Hamburg. Mechanical, chemical as well as a high heat resistance and extreme hardness are required from tools that are used in mechanical and automotive engineering or in plastics and building materials industry. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems IKTS in Dresden managed the production of complex hardmetal tools via 3D printing in a quality that are in no way inferior to conventionally produced high-performance tools.

Fraunhofer IKTS counts decades of proven expertise in the development of hardmetals. To date, reliable cutting, drilling, pressing and stamping tools made of...

Im Focus: Launch of New Industry Working Group for Process Control in Laser Material Processing

At AKL’16, the International Laser Technology Congress held in May this year, interest in the topic of process control was greater than expected. Appropriately, the event was also used to launch the Industry Working Group for Process Control in Laser Material Processing. The group provides a forum for representatives from industry and research to initiate pre-competitive projects and discuss issues such as standards, potential cost savings and feasibility.

In the age of industry 4.0, laser technology is firmly established within manufacturing. A wide variety of laser techniques – from USP ablation and additive...

Im Focus: New laser joining technologies at ‘K 2016’ trade fair

Every three years, the plastics industry gathers at K, the international trade fair for plastics and rubber in Düsseldorf. The Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will also be attending again and presenting many innovative technologies, such as for joining plastics and metals using ultrashort pulse lasers. From October 19 to 26, you can find the Fraunhofer ILT at the joint Fraunhofer booth SC01 in Hall 7.

K is the world’s largest trade fair for the plastics and rubber industry. As in previous years, the organizers are expecting 3,000 exhibitors and more than...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Experts from industry and academia discuss the future mobile telecommunications standard 5G

23.09.2016 | Event News

ICPE in Graz for the seventh time

20.09.2016 | Event News

Using mathematical models to understand our brain

16.09.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Chains of nanogold – forged with atomic precision

23.09.2016 | Life Sciences

New leukemia treatment offers hope

23.09.2016 | Health and Medicine

Self-assembled nanostructures hit their target

23.09.2016 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>