Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Newly Discovered Immune Cells Play Role in Inflammatory Brain Diseases

29.01.2019

Previously unknown cell types play a crucial role in brain autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis / Hopes for more specific therapeutic approaches less prone to side effects / Study published in the journal Science

A team of researchers under the direction of the Medical Center – University of Freiburg has succeeded in demonstrating in an animal model that previously entirely unknown types of immune cells are present in the inflamed brain in the course of multiple sclerosis (MS).


Immune fluorescence of inflammatory microglia (depected in red) and blood-derived invading blood monocytes (shown in green).

Picture by MJC Jordao, University of Freiburg – Medical Center


Comprehensive map of the CNS immune cell populations during neuroinflammation. Each immune cell is represented as a dot and cluster together according to their transcriptomic profile.

Picture by MJC Jordao / University of Freiburg – Medical Center

The discovery was made by means of a new, high-resolution method for analyzing single cells. The method allowed the researchers from Freiburg and Munich to create a kind of immune cell atlas for the brain.

They also showed how these cells promote the development of the autoimmune disease MS. The researchers report on their study in the January issue of the renowned journal Science, published on 25 January 2019.

“Our findings constitute a breakthrough for the understanding of autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis. We hope that it will now be possible to develop new, more cell-specific therapeutic approaches that are less prone to side-effects for treating inflammatory diseases like MS,” says project director Prof. Dr. Marco Prinz, medical director of the Institute of Neuropathology at the Medical Center – University of Freiburg.

“The main problem with the previous, inadequate therapy was that it inhibited the entire immune system. However, we succeeded in finding new subtypes of cells that are specific for local inflammation and destruction in MS. They might therefore be selectively inactivated,” says Prof. Prinz.

Women Suffer More Often from Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple Sclerosis is one of the most common inflammatory diseases of the central nervous system (CNS), which includes the brain and spinal cord. The disease develops in women more often than in men and typically first manifests between the ages of 20 and 40. In Germany, around 120,000 people suffer from MS.

“It is assumed that MS is an autoimmune disease in which immune cells mistakenly attack structures of the central nervous system and cause the inflammation,” explains Prof. Prinz, who is also involved in the Signalling Research Centres BIOSS and CIBSS, University of Freiburg.

The fact that phagocytes from the blood and the brain play a role in MS has already long been known, but it was unclear up to now precisely which subtypes are involved. After years of research work, the scientists have now identified these subtypes in an animal model of multiple sclerosis.

A New Immune Cell Atlas

Using the latest high-resolution single-cell methods, the researchers succeeded in mapping the complex composition of cells located at the focus of inflammation, the so-called inflammation infiltrate. This enabled them to create a new immune cell atlas.

The single-cell analyses used by the researchers are new and can be used in medicine for studying individual cells from tissues. The researchers see them as having enormous potential.

“These methods allow us to paint an entirely new cellular picture of very complex tissues like the brain,” says Dr. Dominic Grün, one of the pioneers of this technique and research group leader at the Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics in Freiburg, which participated in the study.

The first author of the study, Marta Joana Costa Jordão, doctoral candidate at the Institute of Neuropathology of the Medical Center – University of Freiburg, also managed to demonstrate that different phagocytes in the brain remain chronically activated in the course of the disease. It was previously assumed that they were quickly renewed by circulating blood cells. “This permanent activation of the immune cells could explain why the brain of an MS patient is chronically attacked over the course of years,” says Costa Jordão.

Wissenschaftliche Ansprechpartner:

Prof. Dr. Marco Prinz
Medical Director
Institute of Neuropathology
Medical Center – University of Freiburg
Telephone: +49 (0)761 270-51060
marco.prinz@uniklinik-freiburg.de

Originalpublikation:

Original title of the study: Single-cell profiling identifies myeloid cell subsets with distinct fates during neuroinflammation
DOI: 10.1126/science.aat7554
Link to the study: http://science.sciencemag.org/content/363/6425/eaat7554

Weitere Informationen:

http://science.sciencemag.org/content/363/6425/eaat7554 Link to the study
https://www.uniklinik-freiburg.de/neuropathology.html Institute of Neuropathology

Benjamin Waschow | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Further information:
http://www.uniklinik-freiburg.de

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht New image of a cancer-related enzyme in action helps explain gene regulation
05.06.2020 | Penn State

nachricht Protecting the Neuronal Architecture
05.06.2020 | Universität Heidelberg

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Restoring vision by gene therapy

Latest scientific findings give hope for people with incurable retinal degeneration

Humans rely dominantly on their eyesight. Losing vision means not being able to read, recognize faces or find objects. Macular degeneration is one of the major...

Im Focus: Small Protein, Big Impact

In meningococci, the RNA-binding protein ProQ plays a major role. Together with RNA molecules, it regulates processes that are important for pathogenic properties of the bacteria.

Meningococci are bacteria that can cause life-threatening meningitis and sepsis. These pathogens use a small protein with a large impact: The RNA-binding...

Im Focus: K-State study reveals asymmetry in spin directions of galaxies

Research also suggests the early universe could have been spinning

An analysis of more than 200,000 spiral galaxies has revealed unexpected links between spin directions of galaxies, and the structure formed by these links...

Im Focus: New measurement exacerbates old problem

Two prominent X-ray emission lines of highly charged iron have puzzled astrophysicists for decades: their measured and calculated brightness ratios always disagree. This hinders good determinations of plasma temperatures and densities. New, careful high-precision measurements, together with top-level calculations now exclude all hitherto proposed explanations for this discrepancy, and thus deepen the problem.

Hot astrophysical plasmas fill the intergalactic space, and brightly shine in stellar coronae, active galactic nuclei, and supernova remnants. They contain...

Im Focus: Biotechnology: Triggered by light, a novel way to switch on an enzyme

In living cells, enzymes drive biochemical metabolic processes enabling reactions to take place efficiently. It is this very ability which allows them to be used as catalysts in biotechnology, for example to create chemical products such as pharmaceutics. Researchers now identified an enzyme that, when illuminated with blue light, becomes catalytically active and initiates a reaction that was previously unknown in enzymatics. The study was published in "Nature Communications".

Enzymes: they are the central drivers for biochemical metabolic processes in every living cell, enabling reactions to take place efficiently. It is this very...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Dresden Nexus Conference 2020: Same Time, Virtual Format, Registration Opened

19.05.2020 | Event News

Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium AWK'21 will take place on June 10 and 11, 2021

07.04.2020 | Event News

International Coral Reef Symposium in Bremen Postponed by a Year

06.04.2020 | Event News

 
Latest News

New image of a cancer-related enzyme in action helps explain gene regulation

05.06.2020 | Life Sciences

Silicon 'neurons' may add a new dimension to computer processors

05.06.2020 | Physics and Astronomy

Protecting the Neuronal Architecture

05.06.2020 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>