Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Studying illnesses caused by worms: Scientists are learning how immune cells communicate

Date:
October 10, 2010
Source:
Trudeau Institute
Summary:
A billion people living in underdeveloped areas around the world are infected with parasitic helminthes, worms that survive by residing in and feeding on their hosts. Biomedical researchers are investigating illnesses caused by these gut-dwelling worms in an effort to decipher how immune cells send and receive signals that determine the specific immune response to mount.

A billion people living in underdeveloped areas around the world are infected with parasitic helminthes, worms that survive by residing in and feeding on their hosts. These infestations can cause chronic intestinal (and occasionally systemic) illnesses leading to long-term disability.

Irah King and Markus Mohrs, biomedical researchers at the Trudeau Institute, are investigating illnesses caused by these gut-dwelling worms in an effort to decipher how immune cells send and receive signals that determine the specific immune response to mount.

In a study reported in the current issue of the Journal of Immunology, Dr. King and his colleagues demonstrate that a soluble factor released by CD4+ T cells (a subset of cells that aid B cells in generating an immune response) called interleukin-21 (IL-21) instructs B cells to produce antibodies that bind helminth-derived products and inhibit their ability to mature into adult worms in the host.

Using genetically modified mice that lack the receptor for IL-21, they found that B cells directly require IL-21 signals in order to differentiate into plasma cells, the major antibody-producing B cell subset. The role of IL-21 signaling in this context seems to be specific because it does not impact other forms of B cell activation or CD4+ T cell differentiation, another leukocyte subset critical for protective immunity to helminthes.

"It is already established that B cells must produce antibodies to protect us from gut-dwelling worms and other parasitic infections," said Dr. King. "However, the signals that B cells need to receive in order to produce antibodies following infection are not yet completely understood."

Scientists who study anti-parasite immunity understand that immune responses generated by worm infections are in many ways similar to responses generated by diseases more common in the developed world like asthma, allergies, and ulcerative colitis. By identifying these similarities, Dr. King and other researchers hope to point to new treatments and therapies for a host of diseases associated with problems in immune system regulation.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. I. L. King, K. Mohrs, M. Mohrs. A Nonredundant Role for IL-21 Receptor Signaling in Plasma Cell Differentiation and Protective Type 2 Immunity against Gastrointestinal Helminth Infection. The Journal of Immunology, 2010; DOI: 10.4049/jimmunol.1001703

Cite This Page:

Trudeau Institute. "Studying illnesses caused by worms: Scientists are learning how immune cells communicate." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 October 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101008121346.htm>.
Trudeau Institute. (2010, October 10). Studying illnesses caused by worms: Scientists are learning how immune cells communicate. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101008121346.htm
Trudeau Institute. "Studying illnesses caused by worms: Scientists are learning how immune cells communicate." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101008121346.htm (accessed October 23, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) Is your child ready? Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.S. Issues Ebola Travel Restrictions, Are Visa Bans Next?

U.S. Issues Ebola Travel Restrictions, Are Visa Bans Next?

Newsy (Oct. 22, 2014) Now that the U.S. is restricting travel from West Africa, some are dropping questions about a travel ban and instead asking about visa bans. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
US to Track Everyone Coming from Ebola Nations

US to Track Everyone Coming from Ebola Nations

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) Stepping up their vigilance against Ebola, federal authorities said Wednesday that everyone traveling into the US from Ebola-stricken nations will be monitored for symptoms for 21 days. (Oct. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctors Help Paralysed Man Walk Again, Patient in Disbelief

Doctors Help Paralysed Man Walk Again, Patient in Disbelief

AFP (Oct. 22, 2014) Polish doctors describe how they helped a paralysed man walk again, with the patient in disbelief at the return of sensation to his legs. Duration: 1:04 Video provided by AFP
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