Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Preventing Friendly Fire: A Role For The Thymic Cortex In Stopping Your Body From Attacking Itself

Date:
August 6, 2008
Source:
Public Library of Science
Summary:
A new study investigates the inner mechanics of the thymus, the organ that creates the foot soldiers of the immune system. The study helps shed light on the timing and regulation of negative selection, a crucial developmental process.

In order to effectively prevent disease, the immune system must be able to distinguish between self and non-self, and to selectively target the latter. The process that removes immune cells that would otherwise react to the body – engage in friendly fire – is called negative selection.

A new paper published in this week's PLoS Biology, the online open access journal, investigates the inner mechanics of the thymus, the organ that creates the foot soldiers of the immune system. The paper, by Sejin Ahn and colleagues, helps shed light on the timing and regulation of negative selection, a crucial developmental process.

The thymus creates T cells, white blood cells that destroy harmful material as part of the immune response to pathogens. Many more immature T cells are created than are allowed to develop, and the filtering processes – which select only those immature cells that can be useful – occurs within the thymus. The thymus is roughly divided into two main regions, the medulla and the cortex. It has previously been unclear whether the cortex is involved in negative selection, or whether this process is restricted to the medulla.

The new paper, a collaboration between researchers from the US, Korea and the UK, has changed this. The authors have genetically engineered mice to contain an antigen, LacZ, in only a small fraction of the cells of the cortex and nowhere else in the body. They found that any T cells that were programmed to attack LacZ were absent from the mature mice. As the T cells could only have been exposed to LacZ in the cortex, this is strong evidence the cortex has removed them before they reach the rest of the body. Therefore the cortex also has a role in negative selection and significantly tolerizes the developing T cells with impressive efficiency.

This research allows a much clearer understanding of the internal mechanics of the thymus, and how negative selection might work.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Ahn S, Lee G, Yang SJ, Lee D, Lee S, et al. TSCOT+ Thymic Epithelial Cell-Mediated Sensitive CD4 Tolerance by Direct Presentation. PLoS Biol, 2008; 6(8): e191 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.0060191

Cite This Page:

Public Library of Science. "Preventing Friendly Fire: A Role For The Thymic Cortex In Stopping Your Body From Attacking Itself." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 August 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080804222908.htm>.
Public Library of Science. (2008, August 6). Preventing Friendly Fire: A Role For The Thymic Cortex In Stopping Your Body From Attacking Itself. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080804222908.htm
Public Library of Science. "Preventing Friendly Fire: A Role For The Thymic Cortex In Stopping Your Body From Attacking Itself." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080804222908.htm (accessed August 20, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Freetown a City on Edge

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Freetown a City on Edge

AFP (Aug. 19, 2014) Residents of Sierra Leone's capital voice their fears as the Ebola virus sweeps through west Africa. Duration: 00:56 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
101-Year-Old Working Man Has All The Advice You Need

101-Year-Old Working Man Has All The Advice You Need

Newsy (Aug. 19, 2014) Herman Goldman has worked at the same lighting store for almost 75 years. Find out his secrets to a happy, productive life. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

AP (Aug. 19, 2014) Four Texas high school football programs are trying out an experimental system designed to diagnose concussions on the field. The technology is in response to growing concern over head trauma in America's most watched sport. (Aug. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
American Ebola Patient Apparently Improving, Outbreak Is Not

American Ebola Patient Apparently Improving, Outbreak Is Not

Newsy (Aug. 19, 2014) Nancy Writebol, an American missionary who contracted Ebola, is apparently getting better, according to her husband. The outbreak, however, is not. 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