Mayo Clinic researchers have found a way to revive immunity in mice that have abnormal or deficient immune systems. The discovery may lead to a means of restoring immunity to individuals with immunodeficiency diseases such as AIDS and cancer. Also, because the research involves an existing therapy, application may be possible in the near future.
The research team, led by Mayo Clinic immunologists Marilia Cascalho, M.D., Ph.D., and Jeffrey Platt, M.D., report in this months Journal of Immunology that B cells, the lymphocytes that produce antibodies, help to generate T cells, the lymphocytes that fight viruses and tumors.
"Previously, it was thought that B cells and T cells, two components of immunity produced by the lymphatic tissues, develop independently until they eventually came together to fight microbes or to eliminate infected cells in the body," says Dr. Cascalho. "Now we know that the B cells and the immunoglobulin that they produce can help reconstitute immunity by promoting the development of T cells." For immunity to work it is crucial that there are enough T cells and also that the T cells be diverse so they are able to respond to many different threats. B cells help to make the T cells in the body diverse. Immunoglobulin is a specialized protein that acts as an antibody.
Bob Nellis | EurekAlert!
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