An ‘EpiPen’ for spinal cord injuries

An injection of nanoparticles can prevent the body’s immune system from overreacting to trauma, potentially preventing some spinal cord injuries from resulting in paralysis. The approach was demonstrated in mice at the University of Michigan, with the nanoparticles enhancing healing by reprogramming the aggressive immune cells — call it an…

Tumor mutations may predict response to immunotherapy

Checkpoint inhibitor drugs that stimulate the immune system have become a growing success story in the treatment of some cancers. But about half of patients whose tumors are marked by a large number of mutations from so-called mismatch repair genetic deficiency fail to respond to the drugs. Now, researchers from…

Pericytes may improve muscle recovery: Pericyte transplantation may improve skeletal muscle recovery following limb immobilization, animal study shows

Extended periods of limb immobilization — whether from long-term bed rest, casting, spaceflight, or other circumstances — can reduce skeletal muscle mass and strength to the extent that recovery is delayed or never achieved. The biological basis for this lack of recovery, however, remains unclear. An animal study published in…

Antioxidants protect cells from harmful water contaminant: Findings could lead to treatment that reduces health risks from exposure to hexavalent chromium

Antioxidants such as vitamin C could help reduce harmful effects from hexavalent chromium, according to a new study performed with human cells. The contaminant, which is often produced by industrial processes, was featured in the biographical movie Erin Brockovich. Federal data from nationwide drinking water tests show that the compound…

New potential approach to treat atopic dermatitis

How does the immune system respond to fungi on our skin? Researchers at the University of Zurich have demonstrated that the same immune cells that protect us against skin fungi also encourage the inflammatory symptoms of atopic dermatitis. An antibody therapy could alleviate this chronic inflammatory skin disease. The skin…

How the microbiota controls neutrophil activity

A host protein called Serum Amyloid A (Saa) is a major factor mediating the effects of the microbiota on the function of immune cells called neutrophils, according to a study published March 7 in the open-access journal PLOS Pathogens by John Rawls of Duke University School of Medicine, and colleagues….

Immune system’s unknown messenger

Researchers can now explain how a cell that is being attacked by bacteria or viruses specifically manages to ‘sound the alarm’ among its neighbouring cells so they can react with a quick response. “We’ve succeeded in finding and describing a messenger which both quickly and effectively can inform the surrounding…

On the origin of B1 cells

A new MDC study may resolve a decades-old debate in immunology: A team led by Prof. Klaus Rajewsky reports in Science that distinct progenitor cells are not required for the development of B1 cells. Instead, the team’s experiments show that B1-typical B-cell receptor can reprogram B2 cells into B1 cells,…