Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Researchers Discover How Body Regulates Most Abundant Type Of White Blood Cell

Date:
March 22, 2005
Source:
University Of Virginia Health System
Summary:
Every day, the human body manufactures and destroys about 100 billion neutrophils- the most common type of white blood cell and one of the most highly-produced cells. But how does the body keep the number of neutrophils produced constant in the blood, a mystery to scientists for decades? Researchers at the Cardiovascular Research Center at the University of Virginia Health System believe they have the answer.

Every day, the human body manufactures and destroys about 100 billion neutrophils- the most common type of white blood cell and one of the most highly-produced cells. Neutrophils live about eight hours, are bacteria-eaters and are a key component of the immune system. Without them, the body can be subject to life-threatening infection.

Related Articles


But how does the body keep the number of neutrophils produced constant in the blood, a mystery to scientists for decades? Researchers at the Cardiovascular Research Center at the University of Virginia Health System believe they have the answer.

They’ve discovered that these bacteria-killers in the blood are regulated by a sophisticated physiological process, much like the body’s blood pressure or water level. Their research is detailed in the March 23 issue of the journal Immunity.

Working with laboratory mice, Dr. Klaus Ley, professor of biomedical engineering at U.Va. and a U.Va. graduate student, Matthew Stark, discovered a new type of T lymphocyte, the cells that are the main means of providing the body with immune capability. This newly discovered cell, found in the lymph nodes of the gut, is called a Tn cell by Ley and Stark because it is responsible for regulating neutrophils.

“As far as we know, these primitive cells make mainly one cytokine, the protein produced primarily by white blood cells. This cytokine is IL-17,” Ley explained. “These cells are also under the control of another cytokine, IL-23. As the name suggests, these cells are responsible for regulating neutrophil numbers produced in the bone marrow. This finding will probably have significant impact not only for research, but also for clinical medicine.”

Ley said the discovery could lead to new therapies to treat neutropenia- a lack of neutrophil production that can lead to bad infections in cancer patients who undergo chemotherapy, radiation or a bone marrow transplant. The research could also be useful in treating inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, like rheumatoid arthritis or lupus, where neutrophil production may be part of the problem. “Currently, neutropenia is treated with a drug called GCSF,” Ley explained. “But it may be more beneficial in the long-run to develop drugs targeting the IL-17 cytokine.”

Ley and Stark call the process they’ve discovered the neutrophil turnstile.

“We found negative feedback,” Stark explained. “Neutrophils watch and wait for bacteria. When they find bacterial production in the gut, the body will make a cytokinethat drives neutrophil production.”

But when neutrophils die, Stark and Ley explained, they get absorbed up by other cells called macrophages and dendritic cells, downregulating their production of IL-23. That way the body can actually ‘sense’ how many neutrophils have gotten to where they need to go in the body. Stark and Ley theorize that this ‘turnstile’ is likely located in the mesenteric lymph node in the middle of the gut, and possibly the lungs and skin.

Co-authors on the Immunity paper with Ley and Stark are Yuqing Huo, Tracy L. Burcin, Margaret A. Morris and Timothy S. Olson. The research was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health. The researchers also received invaluable assistance from U.Va.’s Flow Cytometry Core Facility.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Virginia Health System. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Virginia Health System. "Researchers Discover How Body Regulates Most Abundant Type Of White Blood Cell." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 March 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/03/050322134117.htm>.
University Of Virginia Health System. (2005, March 22). Researchers Discover How Body Regulates Most Abundant Type Of White Blood Cell. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/03/050322134117.htm
University Of Virginia Health System. "Researchers Discover How Body Regulates Most Abundant Type Of White Blood Cell." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/03/050322134117.htm (accessed November 26, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) Researchers in the United States are preparing to discover whether a drug commonly used in human organ transplants can extend the lifespan and health quality of pet dogs. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) Advances in prosthetics are making replacement body parts stronger and more lifelike than they’ve ever been. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) The US FDA is announcing new calorie rules on Tuesday that will require everywhere from theaters to vending machines to include calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Daily Serving Of Yogurt Could Reduce Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

Daily Serving Of Yogurt Could Reduce Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) Need another reason to eat yogurt every day? Researchers now say it could reduce a person's risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Video provided by Newsy
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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