During a viral infection, the body needs various defence mechanisms – amongst other things, a large number of white blood cells (leukocytes) must be produced in the bone marrow within a short period of time. In the bone marrow, stem cells are responsible for this task: the blood stem cells. In addition to white blood cells, blood stem cells also produce red blood cells and platelets.
Blood stem cells from colonies (cell clusters) in vitro consisting of different blood cells. Nine colonies are illustrated, which have developed into differentiated cell types.
Image: Department of Clinical Research of the University of Bern, Tumor-Immunology research group
The blood stem cells are located in specialized niches in the bone marrow and are surrounded by specialized niche cells. During an infection, the blood stem cells must complete two tasks: they must first recognise that more blood cells have to be produced and, secondly, they must recognise what kind of.
Now, for the first time, researchers at the Department of Medical Oncology at the University of Bern and Bern University Hospital headed by Prof. Adrian Ochsenbein have investigated how the blood stem cells in the bone marrow are regulated by the immune system's so-called T killer cells during a viral infection. As this regulation mechanism mediated by the immune system also plays an important role in other diseases such as leukaemia, these findings could lead to novel therapeutic approaches. The study is being published in the peer-reviewed journal «Cell Stem Cell» today.
T Killer cells trigger defences
One function of T killer cells is to «patrol» in the blood and remove pathogen-infected cells. However, they also interact with the blood stem cells in the bone marrow. The oncologists in Bern were able to show that messenger substances secreted by the T killer cells modulate the niche cells. In turn, the niche cells control the production and also the differentiation of the blood stem cells.
This mechanism is important in order to fight pathogens such as viruses or bacteria. However, various forms of the bone marrow disease leukaemia are caused by a malignant transformation of exactly these blood stem cells. This leads to the formation of so-called leukaemia stem cells. In both cases, the mechanisms are similar: the «good» mechanism regulates healthy blood stem cells during an infection, whilst the «bad» one leads to the multiplication of leukaemia stem cells. This in turn leads to a progression of the leukaemia.
This similarity has already been investigated in a previous project by the same group of researchers. «We hope that this will enable us to better understand and fight infectious diseases as well as bone marrow diseases such as leukaemia,» says Carsten Riether from the Department of Clinical Research at the University of Bern and the Department of Medical Oncology at Bern University Hospital and the University of Bern.Publication details
Nathalie Matter | Universität Bern
Plant mothers talk to their embryos via the hormone auxin
17.07.2018 | Institute of Science and Technology Austria
Barium ruthenate: A high-yield, easy-to-handle perovskite catalyst for the oxidation of sulfides
16.07.2018 | Tokyo Institute of Technology
For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.
To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...
For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.
Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...
Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.
A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...
Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.
"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....
Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.
Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...
13.07.2018 | Event News
12.07.2018 | Event News
03.07.2018 | Event News
16.07.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
16.07.2018 | Life Sciences
16.07.2018 | Earth Sciences