Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Jefferson Scientists Propose Mechanism To Control The Body's Red Blood Cell And Platelet Production

Date:
October 5, 1999
Source:
Jefferson Medical College
Summary:
Researchers at Jefferson Medical College have uncovered a potential switch that helps control the manufacture of red blood cells and blood-clotting platelets. By better understanding how the body keeps tight reins on this process, the scientists hope to someday therapeutically control blood cell production.

The new work may provide essential background for new therapeutic strategies in red blood cell and platelet disorders

Researchers at Jefferson Medical College have uncovered a potential switch that helps control the manufacture of red blood cells and blood-clotting platelets. By better understanding how the body keeps tight reins on this process, the scientists hope to someday therapeutically control blood cell production.

For our tissues to have the oxygen they crave, we need to have enough circulating red blood cells. Athletes, for example, may artificially increase the number of blood cells using a hormone, erythropoietin, which helps immature red blood cells mature. But at the same time, too many cells can cause sluggish circulation and stroke.

Controlling the amount of the hormone is one way of regulating red blood cell production. But there's another way, called "negative regulation," which involves blocking the growth and differentiation of red cell precursors. By activating the cell's own programmed suicide process, called apoptosis, researchers can halt the excessive production of red blood cells.

Cesare Peschle, M.D., professor of microbiology and immunology at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, Ruggero De Maria, M.D., and their co-workers at Jefferson's Kimmel Cancer Center and the Istituto Superiore di Sanita in Rome, found evidence that by activating so-called "death receptors" on the surface of immature red blood cells, an important protein called GATA-1 can be turned off. GATA-1 is crucial to the development of immature blood cells.

They report their work September 30 in the journal Nature. A News and Views article accompanies the research publication.

The scientists found that turning on immature red blood cell death receptors triggers caspases, a family of 14 cysteine enzymes that degrade critical cellular proteins, such as GATA-1. This culminates in a reversible blockade of growth and differentiation of red cell precursors, which may lead to cell death. They detail part of the intricate cascade of cellular events leading to activation of these enzymes in the blockade of red blood cell development.

Apoptosis is a fundamental biological process that is vital to cell differentiation and normal development. In human embryos, for example, apoptosis creates fingers from mitt-like hands. It occurs during normal aging and sometimes during irreversible cell injury from radiation and other poisons. Scientists believe apoptosis gone awry underlies neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, autoimmune diseases such as lupus, and cancer.

Apoptosis has received a great deal of attention in the popular press in recent years when scientists discovered that part of the reason cancer cells grow with abandon is because they lose the ability to die at a preset time.

The Jefferson group's work indicates a "new frontier" in understanding apoptosis, Dr. Peschle says. He explains that "mild stimulation of death receptors and caspases induces a reversible inhibition of red cell development rather than apoptosis." This provides a key mechanism in fine tuning cell growth and differentiation.

Such a novel mechanism may be of general significance, he says, and apply to diverse cell types, in addition to red blood cells and platelets. Failures in the mechanism may lead to either abnormal cell growth inhibition or excessive cell proliferation, such as occurs in some anemias and leukemias.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Jefferson Medical College. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Jefferson Medical College. "Jefferson Scientists Propose Mechanism To Control The Body's Red Blood Cell And Platelet Production." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 October 1999. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/10/991005071727.htm>.
Jefferson Medical College. (1999, October 5). Jefferson Scientists Propose Mechanism To Control The Body's Red Blood Cell And Platelet Production. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/10/991005071727.htm
Jefferson Medical College. "Jefferson Scientists Propose Mechanism To Control The Body's Red Blood Cell And Platelet Production." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/10/991005071727.htm (accessed July 23, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law

Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law

AP (July 22, 2014) Two federal appeals courts issued conflicting rulings Tuesday on the legality of the federally-run healthcare exchange that operates in 36 states. (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The new sci-fi thriller "Lucy" is making people question whether we really use all our brainpower. But, as scientists have insisted for years, we do. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Find New Way To Make Human Platelets

Scientists Find New Way To Make Human Platelets

Newsy (July 22, 2014) Boston scientists have discovered a new way to create fully functioning human platelets using a bioreactor and human stem cells. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

TheStreet (July 21, 2014) New research shows Gilead Science's drug Sovaldi helps in curing hepatitis C in those who suffer from HIV. In a medical study, the combination of Gilead's Hep C drug with anti-viral drug Ribavirin cured 76% of HIV-positive patients suffering from the most common hepatitis C strain. Hepatitis C and related complications have been a top cause of death in HIV-positive patients. Typical medication used to treat the disease, including interferon proteins, tended to react badly with HIV drugs. However, Sovaldi's %1,000-a-pill price tag could limit the number of patients able to access the treatment. TheStreet's Keris Lahiff reports from New York. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins