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
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.
Prof. Dr. Marco Prinz
Institute of Neuropathology
Medical Center – University of Freiburg
Telephone: +49 (0)761 270-51060
Original title of the study: Single-cell profiling identifies myeloid cell subsets with distinct fates during neuroinflammation
Link to the study: http://science.sciencemag.org/content/363/6425/eaat7554
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
If Machines Could Smell ...
19.07.2019 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Produktionstechnik und Automatisierung IPA
Algae-killing viruses spur nutrient recycling in oceans
18.07.2019 | Rutgers University
Adjusting the thermal conductivity of materials is one of the challenges nanoscience is currently facing. Together with colleagues from the Netherlands and Spain, researchers from the University of Basel have shown that the atomic vibrations that determine heat generation in nanowires can be controlled through the arrangement of atoms alone. The scientists will publish the results shortly in the journal Nano Letters.
In the electronics and computer industry, components are becoming ever smaller and more powerful. However, there are problems with the heat generation. It is...
Scientists have visualised the electronic structure in a microelectronic device for the first time, opening up opportunities for finely-tuned high performance electronic devices.
Physicists from the University of Warwick and the University of Washington have developed a technique to measure the energy and momentum of electrons in...
Scientists at the University Würzburg and University Hospital of Würzburg found that megakaryocytes act as “bouncers” and thus modulate bone marrow niche properties and cell migration dynamics. The study was published in July in the Journal “Haematologica”.
Hematopoiesis is the process of forming blood cells, which occurs predominantly in the bone marrow. The bone marrow produces all types of blood cells: red...
For some phenomena in quantum many-body physics several competing theories exist. But which of them describes a quantum phenomenon best? A team of researchers from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and Harvard University in the United States has now successfully deployed artificial neural networks for image analysis of quantum systems.
Is that a dog or a cat? Such a classification is a prime example of machine learning: artificial neural networks can be trained to analyze images by looking...
An international research group led by scientists from the University of Bayreuth has produced a previously unknown material: Rhenium nitride pernitride. Thanks to combining properties that were previously considered incompatible, it looks set to become highly attractive for technological applications. Indeed, it is a super-hard metallic conductor that can withstand extremely high pressures like a diamond. A process now developed in Bayreuth opens up the possibility of producing rhenium nitride pernitride and other technologically interesting materials in sufficiently large quantity for their properties characterisation. The new findings are presented in "Nature Communications".
The possibility of finding a compound that was metallically conductive, super-hard, and ultra-incompressible was long considered unlikely in science. It was...
24.06.2019 | Event News
29.04.2019 | Event News
17.04.2019 | Event News
19.07.2019 | Physics and Astronomy
19.07.2019 | Physics and Astronomy
19.07.2019 | Earth Sciences