Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Immunologists topple dogma about immune cells

Date:
February 13, 2014
Source:
Universität Bonn
Summary:
An international team of scientists disproves a dogma: To date, immunologists have assumed that the macrophages functioning as "scavenger cells" can be classified into two different forms. In an extensive search, the researchers have now discovered that these immune cells turn into far more different manifestations. These findings also give rise to completely new therapeutic approaches for many widespread diseases.

In the lab: Prof. Dr. med. Joachim L. Schultze and Jia Xue from the Life & Medical Sciences (LIMES) Institute at the University Bonn.
Credit: Barbara Frommann/Uni Bonn

An international team of scientists under the leadership of the University of Bonn disproves a dogma: To date, immunologists have assumed that the macrophages functioning as "scavenger cells" can be classified into two different forms. In an extensive search, the researchers have now discovered that these immune cells turn into far more different manifestations. These findings also give rise to completely new therapeutic approaches for many widespread diseases. The results are now being published in the renowned journal "Immunity."

In the body, macrophages go on patrol as "scavenger cells" and act to eliminate intruders. According to the commonly held belief in immunology, they are divided into two groups, firstly into "classical macrophages" which spur on inflammatory processes, and secondly into "alternative macrophages" which shut down inflammation. Researchers from the University of Bonn, together with their colleagues at the University of Bonn Hospital and from Worcester (USA) and Edinburgh (Scotland) are now toppling this dogma: In a breakthrough discovery, the scientists disprove this simple classification for the scavenger cells.

Macrophages process complex information like a computer

"Many macrophages do not fit this pattern," says Prof. Dr. med. Joachim L. Schultze from the Life & Medical Sciences (LIMES) Institute of the University of Bonn. "Rather, this simple concept stands in the way of innovative therapeutic approaches." According to the researchers' results, the macrophages react to many different stimuli, for example messengers which they process in the most complex way, like a computer. Therefore they do not just differentiate between macrophages which fuel inflammation or anti-inflammatory macrophages, as previously believed. Rather, the scientists have found at least nine different forms which use their weapons to optimally fight intruders in different ways.

The scientists from the LIMES Institute of the University of Bonn used blood samples from different people in order to obtain as many different macrophages as possible from the precursor cells in the samples using various growth factors. While these scavenger cells mature, certain genes are activated in their DNA. The researchers identify which genes these are by means of so-called RNA which functions in the cell as a genetic messenger. "With complex bioinformatic analyses, we obtained a type of fingerprint for each macrophage which showed us which genes in the cell were directly active," reports Prof. Schultze. Using this genetic fingerprint, the scientists were able to deduce which combination of stimuli led to the macrophage developing in a particular direction.

The dawn of completely new therapeutic options

For their bioinformatic data sets, the researchers then performed the acid test: Macrophages were obtained from the lungs of smokers and compared with the same scavenger cells in healthy lungs. It could be seen that the macrophages from smokers' lungs could not be allocated to either the kind that fuels inflammation or to the anti-inflammatory type. The scientist is convinced that "We have to step away from the simple classification of macrophages and investigate them more closely in respective connections with diseases." "When we depart from the conventional pattern, fully new concepts open up."

Much about the activation of macrophages and thus about classical immune reactions can be discerned from the genetic fingerprints. "This is the dawn of new therapy options," says Prof. Schultze. Because macrophages play a role in many widespread diseases including, for example, arteriosclerosis, obesity, diabetes, asthma, Alzheimer's disease and cancer.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Jia Xue, Susanne V. Schmidt, Jil Sander, Astrid Draffehn, Wolfgang Krebs, Inga Quester, Dominic De Nardo, Trupti D. Gohel, Martina Emde, Lisa Schmidleithner, Hariharasudan Ganesan, Andrea Nino-Castro, Michael R. Mallmann, Larisa Labzin, Heidi Theis, Michael Kraut, Marc Beyer, Eicke Latz, Tom C. Freeman, Thomas Ulas, Joachim L. Schultze. Transcriptome-Based Network Analysis Reveals a Spectrum Model of Human Macrophage Activation. Immunity, 2014; DOI: 10.1016/j.immuni.2014.01.006

Cite This Page:

Universität Bonn. "Immunologists topple dogma about immune cells." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 February 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140213122255.htm>.
Universität Bonn. (2014, February 13). Immunologists topple dogma about immune cells. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140213122255.htm
Universität Bonn. "Immunologists topple dogma about immune cells." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140213122255.htm (accessed August 20, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Awesome New Camouflage Sheet Was Inspired By Octopus Skin

Awesome New Camouflage Sheet Was Inspired By Octopus Skin

Newsy (Aug. 19, 2014) — Scientists have developed a new device that mimics the way octopuses blend in with their surroundings to hide from dangerous predators. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Disquieting Times for Malaysia's 'fish Listeners'

Disquieting Times for Malaysia's 'fish Listeners'

AFP (Aug. 19, 2014) — Malaysia's last "fish listeners" -- practitioners of a dying local art of listening underwater to locate their quarry -- try to keep the ancient technique alive in the face of industrial trawling and the depletion of stocks. Duration: 02:29 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
USDA Cracks Down On Imports From Foreign Puppy Mills

USDA Cracks Down On Imports From Foreign Puppy Mills

Newsy (Aug. 18, 2014) — New USDA measures to regulate dog imports aim to crack down on buying dogs from overseas puppy mills. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Bone Marrow Drug Regrows Hair In Some Alopecia Patients

Bone Marrow Drug Regrows Hair In Some Alopecia Patients

Newsy (Aug. 18, 2014) — Researchers performed an experiment using an FDA-approved drug known as ruxolitinib. They found it to be successful in the majority of patients. 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