Study: New way to control inflammation

October 3, 2006

U.S. researchers say they've discovered a new way to control or terminate potentially harmful immune responses that produce inflammation.

Immune responses defend against invading pathogens and eliminate dangerous tumor cells, for example, but once the threat has been destroyed, the immune responses must end. If left uncontrolled, immune activity can cause autoimmune conditions in which the immune system attacks healthy tissues of the body.

The immune system uses many strategies to shut down immune responses, one of which is signaling cells to die. Now Charles Serhan and colleagues at Harvard University Medical School have demonstrated in mice and humans that dying immune cells express a surface protein that allows them to act as sponges, effectively removing factors that would otherwise promote inflammation.

The scientists say their findings highlight a previously unappreciated role of dying immune cells -- potentially offering a strategy for dampening chronic inflammatory conditions by tricking the immune response to terminate the process.

The report appears in this week's issue of the journal Nature Immunology.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Macrophages create the elusive spermatogonial stem cell niche

Related Stories

Macrophages create the elusive spermatogonial stem cell niche

September 3, 2015

(Phys.org)—Every organ strikes its own balance between self-renewal and differentiation. At one extreme is the brain, where only a few isolated outposts are known to contribute to a largely quiescent population. At another ...

Biophysicists take small step in quest for 'robot scientist'

August 25, 2015

Biophysicists have taken another small step forward in the quest for an automated method to infer models describing a system's dynamics - a so-called robot scientist. Nature Communications published the finding - a practical ...

Recommended for you

How the finch changes its tune

August 3, 2015

Like top musicians, songbirds train from a young age to weed out errors and trim variability from their songs, ultimately becoming consistent and reliable performers. But as with human musicians, even the best are not machines. ...

Machine Translates Thoughts into Speech in Real Time

December 21, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- By implanting an electrode into the brain of a person with locked-in syndrome, scientists have demonstrated how to wirelessly transmit neural signals to a speech synthesizer. The "thought-to-speech" process ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.