Phagocytosis study: surprising discovery

Mar 21, 2006

University of California-Santa Barbara scientists say they've made a surprising discovery: phagocytosis depends more on particle shape than size.

The research has far-reaching implications for immunology, vaccine development and drug delivery, said Samir Mitragotri, a professor of chemical engineering, and graduate student Julie Champion.

Phagocytosis, a key part of the body's immune system, depends on macrophages, which find and frequently remove particles from the body. The UCSB scientists said previous studies were performed only with spherical samples because it was presumed size was the main issue in phagocytosis.

The researchers used macrophages from alveolar rat tissue and developed polystyrene particles of various sizes and shapes as model targets. Scanning electron microscopy and time-lapse video microscopy were employed to study the action of the macrophages when presented with targets of varying shapes.

Mitragotri said the discovery might eventually allow researchers to design drug carriers that can be purposefully retained by the body for a longer period of time, or help create vaccines that would be quickly removed to stimulate a rapid immune response.

The study appears online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and will be published in print March 28.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Greenland darkening to continue, predicts CCNY expert Marco Tedesco

Related Stories

Frog uses different strategies to escape ground, air predators

14 minutes ago

Frogs may flee from a ground predator and move towards an aerial predator, undercutting the flight path, according to a study using model predators published April 15, 2015 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Matthew Bulber ...

Researchers can trace dust samples using fungal DNA

2 hours ago

Researchers from North Carolina State University and the University of Colorado, Boulder, have developed a statistical model that allows them to tell where a dust sample came from within the continental United ...

Recommended for you

For many US teachers, the classroom is a lonely place

1 hour ago

One of the best ways to find out how teachers can improve their teaching is to ask them. The massive Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) did just that and the answers offer crucial insights for teachers, school ...

College rankings go under the microscope

11 hours ago

Parents, students and admissions officials have combed through college and university rankings for years. However, education researchers have largely ignored the controversial lists. That's about to change, according to a ...

User comments : 0

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.