Science Current Events | Science News | Brightsurf.com
 

Research uncovers signaling pathways related to brain-immune system links

May 16, 2006

Cell biology studies may lay groundwork for a novel HIV treatment

New research on signaling pathways in immune cells bolsters evidence of connections between the central nervous system and the immune system. The findings may also advance the scientific foundation for a potential HIV treatment that may block the virus that causes AIDS.

The cell culture study by a research team from The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, published online on May 4.

The team, led by Steven D. Douglas, M.D., chief of the Section of Immunology at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, analyzed neurokinin-1 receptors found on the surfaces of monocytes, immune cells that develop into macrophages. The neurokinin-1 receptors (NK-1R) are docking sites for substance P, a well-known neurotransmitter that plays important roles in both immune function and the nervous system.

In the current study, the Douglas team investigated two forms of NK-1R in a human monocyte/macrophage cell line. One was a full-length receptor, the other a shortened version with fewer amino acids. When the researchers added substance P to cell cultures with the receptors, both responded with an increase in calcium ions, but used distinct signaling pathways.

The truncated NK-IR did not respond directly to substance P, but worked through another signaling molecule, the chemokine RANTES, to increase the calcium flow. The RANTES molecule is important because it binds to another cell receptor, CCR5, which is crucial in allowing common strains of HIV (R5 strains) to infect immune cells.

Significantly, when the investigators added the drug aprepitant, which binds to NK-1R, to their cell cultures, it inhibited signaling from both the full-length and short form of the receptors.

Although the current study was not focused on HIV infection, it directly relates to broader interests of Dr. Douglas' laboratory. He currently leads a four-year program project grant from the National Institute of Mental Health, entitled, "Neurokinin-1R (Substance P Receptor) Antagonists for HIV Therapy." One project within that grant will conduct a phase 1 (safety) trial of aprepitant in adults with HIV infection. Currently used as an anti-nausea medication, aprepitant, which has the trade name Emend, might also block HIV infection.

Because macrophages are a reservoir for HIV, a strategy that denies the virus entry into those immune cells may be important in combating HIV infection. Dr. Douglas showed in 2001 that another NK-1R antagonist blocked HIV replication within macrophages in cell culture. The hope is that aprepitant may show a similar protective effect in patients.

"We postulate that blocking NK-1R may send signals to turn off the CCR5 receptor for HIV, closing the door to the virus," said Dr. Douglas. "Underlying the signaling mechanisms are the questions, 'how does the immune system talk to the nervous system?' and 'how does the nervous system talk back?' Substance P is a link between both systems, and this study increases our understanding of those underlying questions."

Children's Hospital of Philadelphia


Related Immune Cells Current Events and Immune Cells News Articles


New class of protein could treat cancer and other diseases, study finds
A protein designed by researchers at Georgia State University can effectively target a cell surface receptor linked to a number of diseases, showing potential as a therapeutic treatment for an array of illnesses, including cancer, according to the research team.

How Zika infects the placenta
Zika virus can infect and replicate in immune cells from the placenta, without killing them, scientists have discovered. The finding may explain how the virus can pass through the placenta of a pregnant woman, on its way to infect developing brain cells in her fetus.

Zika virus infects human placental macrophages
One of Zika's mysteries is how the virus passes from an infected mother, through the placenta, to a developing fetus.

Study reveals protein that dials immune responses up and down
Research led by scientists at the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute (SBP) has identified a new regulator of immune responses.

Nanoscale Trojan horses treat inflammation
Nanosized Trojan horses created from a patient's own immune cells have successfully treated inflammation by overcoming the body's complex defense mechanisms, perhaps leading to broader applications for treating diseases characterized by inflammation, such as cancer and cardiovascular diseases.

A single enzyme with the power of three could offer shortcut to therapeutic target
Researchers identified a single enzyme doing the work of a trio thought necessary to control a common cellular signaling process being pursued as a therapeutic target.

Healthy intestinal flora keeps the mind sharp -- with some help from the immune system
A special kind of immune cell serves as an intermediary between gut bacteria and the brain. Dr. Susanne Wolf of the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in the Helmholtz Association (MDC) discovered this in tests on mice and published her findings in the journal Cell Reports.

Researchers shed light on pathway from virus to brain disease
Why people on immunosuppressant drugs for autoimmune conditions have a higher incidence of an often-fatal brain disease may be linked to a mutation in a common virus, according to researchers at Penn State College of Medicine.

Differences in individuals' immune responses linked to flu vaccine effectiveness
For the first time, scientists have identified how differences in individuals' immune responses might be linked to the effectiveness of the seasonal influenza vaccination programme. The findings are published in the journal, Immunology.

Fine-tuning for intestinal immune cells
An international team of researchers under the leadership of the LIMES Institute and the excellence cluster ImmunoSensation of the University of Bonn unraveled a new regulatory mechanism how food components and environmental factors influence the immune system.
More Immune Cells Current Events and Immune Cells News Articles

Cell Wars: The Immune System Fights Cancer

Cell Wars: The Immune System Fights Cancer
by The New York Times Company


Doctors gave David Wight only three to 12 months to live after his bladder cancer spread to his abdomen. They said there was little they could do. But Mr. Wight, a retired oil engineer with five children, two of them still young, would not hear of it. “We can do better than that,” he replied.


Mr. Wight eventually entered a clinical trial testing a new type of cancer treatment called immunotherapy. Four and a half years later he is alive and cancer-free. “I won a lottery that’s bigger than anybody could imagine,” he says.


Stories of cancer patients being rescued from the brink of death are becoming common with immunotherapy, which unleashes the body’s own immune system to fight tumors. It is a fundamentally new approach to treating cancer,...

Immunology: Immune Cells

Immunology: Immune Cells


Immune Cells

Last updated: 9/30/12
Number of questions: 3

Cell Communication in Nervous and Immune System (Results and Problems in Cell Differentiation)

Cell Communication in Nervous and Immune System (Results and Problems in Cell Differentiation)
by Eckart D. Gundelfinger (Editor), Constanze Seidenbecher (Editor), Burkhart Schraven (Editor)


This collection of reviews contains contributions by internationally recognized immunologists and molecular and cellular neurobiologists. Uniquely, it puts side by side cellular communication devices and signaling mechanisms in the immune and nervous systems and discusses mechanisms of interaction between the two systems, the significance of which has only recently been fully appreciated.

Rose's Superhero Birthday: An Immune Cell Treasure Hunt

Rose's Superhero Birthday: An Immune Cell Treasure Hunt
by Angela Landrigan (Author)


Rose's Superhero Birthday: An Immune Cell Treasure Hunt is a book that takes children on a journey of discovery about the immune cells that keep them safe every day. A curious and inspired girl, Rose has asked her immunologist mom for a science-themed birthday party, complete with a B cell birthday cake. The book follows Rose and her friends through the joys of childhood, including treasure hunts and self-made theatrical performances, while simplifying and illuminating some of the deeper complexities of the immune system. The appendix features deeper vignettes on everyday topics in immunology (colds, hand washing, allergies, and more).

Polymyalgia Rheumatica and Giant Cell Arteritis: a survival guide. 2nd edition.

Polymyalgia Rheumatica and Giant Cell Arteritis: a survival guide. 2nd edition.
by Kate Gilbert PhD (Author)


Polymyalgia Rheumatica (PMR) and Giant Cell Arteritis (GCA) are linked rheumatic inflammatory illnesses that affect older people – generally, people over 50. They are chronic autoimmune conditions that cause untold misery, pain and debilitation. More acutely, undiagnosed GCA can lead to blindness, which is irreversible. In the United Kingdom each year, there are an estimated 40,000 new cases of PMR and 10,000 new cases of GCA, with a significant degree of overlap, many people having both conditions together. Many people, when they first get their diagnosis, have never heard of PMR or GCA before, and have to get used to the idea of having a chronic inflammatory illness, together with the steroid therapy that is the only standard effective treatment widely available. Several months into...

Cytokines: Mechanisms, Functions and Abnormalities (Cell Biology Research Progress: Immunology and Immune System Disorders)

Cytokines: Mechanisms, Functions and Abnormalities (Cell Biology Research Progress: Immunology and Immune System Disorders)
by Masous H. Manjili (Author), Masous H. Manjili (Editor)


Cells of the immune system communicate with each other, and respond to abnormal conditions by releasing soluble proteins, named cytokines. Abnormal or dangerous conditions include infection, trauma and injury, neurological disorders, and cancer. The balance between pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines can comfort or exacerbate the symptoms in these diseases. This book focuses on counter-regulatory and the role of cytokines in different diseases. The goal is to understand contribution of cytokines in the progression of the disease as well as therapeutic potential of cytokines in the treatment of the disease by understanding cytokine counter-regulation.

Cell Wars (Cells and Things)

Cell Wars (Cells and Things)
by Fran Balkwill (Author), Balkwill (Author), MIC Rolph (Illustrator)


Explains how cells fight off diseases and viruses in the human body.

Your Body's Heroes and Villains: Microexplorers : Learning Aobut Immune Cells : The Tiny Defenders That Safeguard Our Lives Against Nasty Bacteria and Viruses (Microexplorers Series)

Your Body's Heroes and Villains: Microexplorers : Learning Aobut Immune Cells : The Tiny Defenders That Safeguard Our Lives Against Nasty Bacteria and Viruses (Microexplorers Series)
by Patrick A. Baeuerle (Author), Norbert Landa (Author)


Continuing Barron's Microexplorers series, readers watch as viruses of a common head cold invade a human body and as bacteria cells invade the body through a small wound. These are the body's villains, but they are fought off and finally overcome by hero antibodies-- produced by our bodies to protect us from harmful microscopic invaders. Full-color illustrations.

  Connexin Cell Communication Channels: Roles in the Immune System and Immunopathology
by Ernesto Oviedo-Orta (Editor), Brenda R. Kwak (Editor), William Howard Evans (Editor)


Plasma membrane-associated channels known as gap junctions, along with their protein building blocks―connexins―have an important functional role in a range of immunological processes, including heart function, cell growth and specialization, and early development. Spanning basic science and potential clinical applications, Connexin Cell Communication Channels: Roles in the Immune System and Immunopathology assembles and synthesizes four decades of the most important research carried out in this field. The book first provides a historical overview of the discovery of these membrane channels in cells and tissues of the immune system. It describes their general molecular and biological characteristics and examines how they participate in the evolution, organization, function, and...

Antibodies that Cause Thyroid Diseases and Symptoms: Immune Cells causing Hypothyroidism & Hyperthyroidism

Antibodies that Cause Thyroid Diseases and Symptoms: Immune Cells causing Hypothyroidism & Hyperthyroidism
by James M. Lowrance (Author)


The majority of patients with both hypothyroidism (under-active thyroid) and hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) are experiencing autoimmune diseases that cause these conditions. When autoimmune thyroid disease results in hypothyroidism, the term for the disease is "Hashimoto's thyroiditis." When the autoimmune disease of the thyroid causes hyperthyroidism, it is called "Grave's Disease." Thyroid antibodies attack key proteins in the thyroid gland and in some cases, stimulate production of excessive amounts of hormone. These killer cells that are manufactured by the immune system become confused for reasons yet to be fully understood by medical science and they begin to identify thyroid cells as threats in the body. As they attack these cells, the thyroid gland becomes damaged,...

© 2017 BrightSurf.com