At least three protective mechanisms defend the lungs against erroneous attacks by the body's own immune system. This was discovered by the Immuneregulation research group headed by Professor Dunja Bruder at the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI) in Braunschweig, Germany.
Lungs under the microscope: The left image shows healthy lung tissue. If the immune system attacks lung tissue by mistake, immune cells, depicted in blue, accumulate and may constrict the bronchi. This can be seen in the right image.
To understand the role of T cells in the etiology of COPD, the researchers conducted experiments in mice, in which they were able to specifically evoke autoimmunity by introducing autoreactive T cells into the murine lungs. Against expectations, however, they found that the mere presence of cells that are viewed as "non-self" did not by itself provoke an attack by autoreactive T cells. Instead, it appears that, besides erroneously recognizing a tissue as "non-self," the autoreactive T cells require an additional signal to prompt their differentiation into cells capable of attacking "self" cells. To their surprise, the scientists found that the T cells became activated only temporarily once the scientists delivered an additional, second signal by triggering the innate immune response - a kind of "body alarm system" that switches on the entire immune defense. "It seems that a third signal is needed to completely turn on these cells. Once we find out what this third signal actually is, we will have taken an important step forward in our understanding of COPD. This would then allow us to intervene therapeutically and prevent the progress of the disease," emphasizes Dunja Bruder the relevance of their results. The researchers' investigations point to the fact that chronic infections may be responsible for producing the third signal. Infections lead to inflammation of the lungs, which then completely turns on the autoreactive T cells.
Dr. Birgit Manno | Helmholtz-Zentrum
Microscope measures muscle weakness
16.11.2018 | Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg
Good preparation is half the digestion
16.11.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Stoffwechselforschung
Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.
Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...
Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.
Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...
Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.
In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...
On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.
When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure
Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...
09.11.2018 | Event News
06.11.2018 | Event News
23.10.2018 | Event News
16.11.2018 | Health and Medicine
16.11.2018 | Life Sciences
16.11.2018 | Life Sciences