Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Immune cells known as macrophages linked to growth of lymph vessels in eyes, scientists discover

02.09.2005


Holds promise for treating eye disease and cancer and for healing injuries



Scientists at Schepens Eye Research Institute have discovered that a particular immune cell contributes to the growth of new lymph vessels, which aid in healing. This cell, known as a macrophage, is called in by the body during the wound healing process. The discovery of this new role for the macrophage, published in the September 2005 Journal of Clinical Investigation, may ultimately inspire innovative treatments for blinding eye disease, as well as for other diseases, such as cancer, that rely on the lymph vessels to spread abnormal cells throughout the body.

"This is a very significant finding," according to Joan Stein-Streilein, PhD, and Patricia A. D’Amore, PhD, senior authors of the study, Senior Scientists at SERI and members of the Departments of Medicine and Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School, respectively. "It unlocks a whole new dimension in our understanding of these important cells."


The body uses lymph vessels to bring immune cells to an injured organ to carry away debris and fluid to aid healing. Lymph vessels can play a different kind of role in cancer, offering tumor cells a pathway for spreading to other body parts, in a process known as metastasis.

Macrophages are large white blood cells called in during wound healing to ingest foreign invaders such as bacteria. They can also present pieces of those intruders to the immune system to jump-start the immune response. Produced in the bone marrow, they can be found in almost all tissues of the body. Unlike many other parts of the body, the clear outer layer of the eye, known as the cornea, does not normally have lymph vessels, except when injury causes lymph vessels to sprout from the edge of the cornea to help heal the wound.

Dr. Kazuichi Maruyama, a post-doctoral fellow in D’Amore’s and Stein-Streilein’s laboratories at SERI, began to suspect a new connection between macrophages and lymph vessels while studying corneal transplants in mice. He became aware of lymph vessels that seemed to be forming "in place," away from those produced at the edge of the cornea. He also noticed that these lymph vessels disappeared after the wounds were healed. Because the cell structure of the new vessels resembled that of macrophages, he began to believe there might be a relationship.

In the JCI study, he tested this idea by placing sutures in the corneas of two groups of mice to create injuries that would induce a healing response. Then he gave one group of mice a drug to cause macrophages to commit suicide. When he examined the eyes of both groups, he found those given the drug did not grow as many lymph vessels as the control group without the drug.

The implications of this link between macrophages and lymph vessels are far-reaching, according to Stein-Streilein, D’Amore, and Maruyama.

D’Amore and Stein-Streilein believe that harnessing this newly found ability of the macrophages could lead to the creation of new drugs or therapies for eye disease. For instance, inducing new "temporary" lymph vessels in retinas could aid in treating diabetic retinopathy by removing fluids leaking from abnormal blood vessels. It is this leaking fluid, characteristic of diabetic retinopathy that can permanently damage the retina and vision.

Maruyama speculates that the involvement of macrophages in forming lymph vessels may be universal and may also be involved in spreading cancer. If that were the case, blocking macrophages from helping to grow lymph vessels could inhibit the spread of tumors.

The team is now researching the same process in skin wounds and cancer.

Patti Jacobs | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.eri.harvard.edu/

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Staying in Shape
16.08.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für molekulare Zellbiologie und Genetik

nachricht Chips, light and coding moves the front line in beating bacteria
16.08.2018 | Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST) Graduate University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

Im Focus: The “TRiC” to folding actin

Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.

Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...

Im Focus: Lining up surprising behaviors of superconductor with one of the world's strongest magnets

Scientists have discovered that the electrical resistance of a copper-oxide compound depends on the magnetic field in a very unusual way -- a finding that could help direct the search for materials that can perfectly conduct electricity at room temperatur

What happens when really powerful magnets--capable of producing magnetic fields nearly two million times stronger than Earth's--are applied to materials that...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

2018 Work Research Conference

25.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Staying in Shape

16.08.2018 | Life Sciences

Diving robots find Antarctic seas exhale surprising amounts of carbon dioxide in winter

16.08.2018 | Earth Sciences

Protein droplets keep neurons at the ready and immune system in balance

16.08.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>