Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Specialized White Blood Cells Coordinate First Responders To Viral Infection

Date:
April 25, 2008
Source:
University of Washington
Summary:
Regulatory T cells are thought to call a halt to immune responses as the fight against infection draws to a close. Researchers have evidence that these cells also help coordinate the early stages of the fight against viral infections.

Just as fire engines arrive quickly at the scene to save people and property, the cells that fight viruses have to reach the site of an infection promptly to mount a protective response.

According to recent studies by University of Washington (UW) scientists, specialized types of white blood cells, a category called regulatory T cells, seem to help orchestrate this timely reaction to a virus invasion.

The Rudensky laboratory is noted for many contributions to the superhot field of regulatory T cells. These cells are important in controlling autoimmunity, a cellular self-attack that can lead to diseases like reactive arthritis. UW researchers and other scientists have shown that young mice deficient in regulatory T cells die from an aggressive form of autoimmunity that damages several organs.

Alexander Y. Rudensky, professor of immunology, noted the great clinical interest in the therapeutic potential of regulatory T cells. Evidence is growing on the role of regulatory T cells in keeping the body's immune responses in check. Studies in lab animals suggest these cells might be harnessed to treat autoimmune diseases or reduce rejection of transplanted organs.

Researchers think that regulatory T cells might call a halt to immune responses as the body nears success in eliminating an infection. This suppression as the fight draws to an end would reduce tissue damage from robust immune responses.

But what happens early in infection? Does the immunity-suppressing function of regulatory T cells form an obstacle to organizing an attack on germs that have just invaded the body? Do regulatory T cells temporarily lose their suppression ability in reaction to viral-sensing mechanisms or other signals? In the recent Science Express study, researchers looked for a role for regulatory T cells during the start of a herpes simplex virus infection in mucus membranes.

When regulatory T cells are deficient in mice, the herpes simplex virus replicates rapidly in the mucus membranes and spreads to the spinal cord. Upon closer examination of these mice that lack regulatory T cells, the researchers found very little interferon, an anti-viral chemical that also boosts the immune response, at the infection site, even though it was found in the draining lymph nodes.

Also in the lymph nodes they noticed a sharp increase in certain chemokines, chemicals that stimulate immune cells to move in and cause inflammation. The presence of chemokines appeared to encourage the entry and retention of certain infection-fighting cells in the lymph nodes draining the site of infection, an ineffective place for the infection-fighting cells to be during the start of a viral attack.

The researchers also noticed a delay in killer cells, dendritic cells (the cells that capture and present foreign proteins to other immune cells), and T cells arriving at the site of infection, where they were supposed to go earlier to fulfill their virus-fighting roles. The researchers suggested that a possible reason for this tardiness is an alteration in the chemical cues necessary for these cells to migrate to the site of infection.

The authors described the finding of an immune-response promoting role for regulatory T cells during the early stages of a local infection as "unexpected," considering the cells' suppressor roles during later stages of an immune response.

Findings appear in the April 24 edition of Science Express. The authors of the study, "Coordination of Early Protective Immunity to Viral Infections by Regulatory T Cells," are Jennifer M. Lund, senior fellow in immunology; Lianne Hsing, immunology graduate student; Thuy T. Pham, senior biology major; and Alexander Y. Rudensky, professor of immunology.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Washington. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Washington. "Specialized White Blood Cells Coordinate First Responders To Viral Infection." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 April 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080424152249.htm>.
University of Washington. (2008, April 25). Specialized White Blood Cells Coordinate First Responders To Viral Infection. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080424152249.htm
University of Washington. "Specialized White Blood Cells Coordinate First Responders To Viral Infection." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080424152249.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
West Africa Gripped by Deadly Ebola Outbreak

West Africa Gripped by Deadly Ebola Outbreak

AFP (July 28, 2014) The worst-ever outbreak of the deadly Ebola epidemic grips west Africa, killing hundreds. Duration: 00:48 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A national study conducted by the USDA Forest Service found that trees collectively save more than 850 lives on an annual basis. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Google's Next Frontier: The Human Body

Google's Next Frontier: The Human Body

Newsy (July 27, 2014) Google is collecting genetic and molecular information to paint a picture of the perfectly healthy human. 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:
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