June 17, 2024
Global Sanger Sequencing Market

Healthy Tissue Constantly Stimulates Immune Cells, Keeping Them on Alert: New Study in Nature Immunology

Immune cells are always on call, ready to defend the body against invading pathogens. But how do they stay prepared when no threat is present? A recent study published in the journal Nature Immunology reveals an unexpected answer: they are continuously stimulated by healthy tissue.

The immune system’s rapid response to infections is facilitated by communication between cells. When a virus infects a cell, it releases signaling molecules, alerting immune cells. These cells process these signals through the JAK-STAT signaling pathway, which links signal detection on the cell surface to the core regulatory machinery of immune cells, ultimately activating a set of genes and preparing the cells for an attack.

However, immune cells must maintain a delicate balance between staying vigilant and avoiding unnecessary activity, which can lead to autoimmune diseases. The mechanisms behind this balance have been unclear. A team of researchers from Vienna, led by Christoph Bock, Principal Investigator at CeMM and Professor at the Medical University of Vienna, has now shed light on this question.

Bock explains that the same JAK-STAT signaling pathway that activates immune cells during an infection also keeps them on standby when no pathogens are present. This means that when an immune cell encounters a pathogen, it only needs to increase the signaling intensity, rather than activating a completely new signaling pathway. This quick response is crucial for the immune system’s effectiveness.

The researchers discovered that healthy tissue constantly releases low levels of signaling molecules, which stimulate immune cells and keep them ready for action. This finding opens up new possibilities for developing medications that selectively enhance the immune system’s attention, potentially improving overall health and disease resistance.

1.  Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
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