Mobilizing white blood cells to the lung: New discovery could lead to an improved influenza vaccine

Jul 10, 2008

Findings just published in the scientific journal Immunity by researchers at the Trudeau Institute shed new light on how a previously-unknown messaging mechanism within the human immune system prompts specific influenza-fighting cells to the lung airways during an infection.

Infections from the influenza virus are responsible for hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations and as many as 40,000 deaths in the United States each year. Although researchers have known for some time that white blood cells congregating in the lung and directly attacking the virus play an important role in defending against influenza, it has never been clear how exactly these white blood cells know when they are required in the lung.

Now new research in the Trudeau Institute laboratory of Dr. David Woodland offers important insights into the navigational aids used by these cells as they maneuver through the human body. Trudeau investigators have shown that lungs which have been infected with the influenza virus produce a series of chemicals, or chemokines, which act as beacons for specific types of white blood cells. While circulating in the bloodstream, these white blood cells recognize the chemical messages signaling the presence of the virus and the need for them to move into lung tissues.

According to Dr. Woodland, director of the Trudeau Institute and lead researcher on the project: “An important aspect of these findings is that this response occurs early in the disease process, typically within a couple of days of the initial infection. It also turns out that only a fraction of the available white blood cells are capable of recognizing these chemokine messages. Discovering that this response occurs rapidly, and that only a specific subset of white blood cells can recognize these messages, helps provide important new information for researchers working towards developing better a better influenza vaccine.”

The research paper, “The Chemokine Receptor CCR5 Plays a Key Role in the Early Memory CD8? T Cell Response to Respiratory Virus Infections,” is available in its entirety in Immunity.

Source: Trudeau Institute

Explore further: Long lasting anti-hemophilia factor safe in kids

Related Stories

OrangeSec pair said Cortana visited Android

1 hour ago

Can, did, Cortana work on Android? A talked-about act at droidcon 2015: a presentation titled "Cracking Cortana." The OrangeSec team arrived at the Turin, Italy, event to show their work in a CortanaProxy ...

Mercury MESSENGER nears epic mission end

2 hours ago

A spacecraft that carries a sensor built at the University of Michigan is about to crash into the planet closest to the sun—just as NASA intended.

DOJ, FBI acknowledge flawed testimony from unit

4 hours ago

The Justice Department and FBI have formally acknowledged that nearly every examiner in the FBI Laboratory's microscopic hair comparison unit gave flawed testimony in almost all trials in which they offered evidence against ...

Dawn glimpses Ceres' north pole

4 hours ago

After spending more than a month in orbit on the dark side of dwarf planet Ceres, NASA's Dawn spacecraft has captured several views of the sunlit north pole of this intriguing world. These images were taken ...

Recommended for you

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.