Navigation Links
'Natural killer' cells keep immune system in balance

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] Natural killer, or NK cells, are part of our innate immune system. A healthy body produces them to respond early during infection. They are activated and they kill cells infected with a given virus.

It turns out NK cells are even more important to the body than previously thought. Researchers from Brown University and McGill University now know that the cells also help keep T cells major players in cell-mediated immunity from over-responding. Such a balance helps T cells maintain their role in the body's adaptive immune response, rather than becoming too numerous and activated to cause harm.

The discovery, published in the September issue of the Journal of Experimental Medicine, could someday be used to help treat patients with compromised immune systems. Managing NK cell production might help stabilize the immune systems of people with HIV or keep patients from rejecting bone marrow or organ transplants.

The findings place an importance on understanding how to keep NK cells around, because they can be lost, said lead author Christine Biron, professor of medical science at Brown University.

"The work reveals two important aspects of NK cell biology, the first piece being understanding how to keep NK cells instead of losing them," said Biron, the Esther Elizabeth Brintzenhoff Professor in the Department of Molecular Biology, Cell Biology and Biochemistry. "The second is that if you can keep them around, they have an important regulatory function to limit adaptive immune response. If you don't have them during long challenges, your adaptive immune system response could go unregulated and lead to death."

Scientists have known that NK cells have antimicrobial effects. But the newer research focuses on factors that help keep NK cells around. Through studying mice, researchers determined that the ability to keep NK cells around depends on whether they have a particular kind of activating receptor that promotes their proliferations.

Once activated, the expanded NK cells help produce a cytokine known as interleukin󈝶, which effects immunoregulation and inflammation control. (Cytokines are protein molecules that help regulate the immune system) In turn, IL-10 helps dampen the T cell response. An overabundance of T cells in this case can harm the body and cause death.

Biron said it was important to learn that it is possible to help make NK cells proliferate, as an important milestone to help sustain them in the body when needed.

Such an understanding is crucial, she said, to help patients with compromised immune systems who may not be able to sustain NK cells on their own.

Biron said the research underscores the need for balance in the immune system, with the right combination of NK and T cells to complement innate and adaptive immunity in the body.

"You want the right balance," she said. "This could help create the right balance."


Contact: Mark Hollmer
Brown University

Related biology news :

1. Barrow researcher finds natural hydrogel helps heal spinal cord
2. UCR Turfgrass Field Day to focus on water conservation, disease management, & natural turf
3. Natural compounds, chemotherapeutic drugs may become partners in cancer therapy
4. Restoring a natural root signal helps to fight a major corn pest
5. Salt marshes: A natural and unnatural history
6. Scientists link immune systems natural killer cells to infant liver disease
7. Natural compound stops retinopathy
8. Natural-born divers and the molecular traces of evolution
9. Natural seed treatment could drastically cut pesticide use
10. Small molecules mimic natural gene regulators
11. Rabbits on the back foot -- but naturally theyre fighting back
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
'Natural killer' cells keep immune system in balance
(Date:10/29/2015)... October 29, 2015 NXTD ... company focused on the growing mobile commerce market ... that StackCommerce, a leading marketplace to discover and ... Wocket® smart wallet on StackSocial for this holiday ... or the "Company"), a biometric authentication company focused ...
(Date:10/27/2015)... 2015 In the present market scenario, security ... various industry verticals such as banking, healthcare, defense, electronic ... demand for secure & simplified access control and growing ... hacking of bank accounts, misuse of users, , and ... PC,s, laptops, and smartphones are expected to provide potential ...
(Date:10/27/2015)... 2015 Synaptics Inc. (NASDAQ: SYNA ), the ... has adopted the Synaptics ® ClearPad ® ... its newest flagship smartphones, the Nexus 5X by LG ... --> --> Synaptics works closely ... collaboration in the joint development of next generation technologies. ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... /PRNewswire/ - Aeterna Zentaris Inc. (NASDAQ:  AEZS) (TSX: ... 11,000 post-share consolidation (or 1,100,000 pre-share consolidation) Series ... Warrants") subject to the previously disclosed November 1, ... which will result in the issuance of 365,518 ... issuance of such shares, there will be approximately ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... ... are paramount. Insertion points for in-line sensors can represent a weak spot where ... InTrac 781/784 series of retractable sensor housings , which are designed to tolerate ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... Vancouver, BC (PRWEB) , ... November 24, 2015 ... ... to our customer, OrthoAccel® Technologies, Inc., on being named to Deloitte's 2015 Technology ... Creation Technologies’ Texas facility, OrthoAccel manufactures AcceleDent®, a FDA-cleared, Class II medical device ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ANGELES , Nov. 24, 2015 ... biotechnology company focused on the discovery, development and commercialization ... , Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer, is scheduled to present ... 1, 2015 at 10:50 a.m. EST, at The Lotte ... City . . ...
Breaking Biology Technology: