Nav: Home

Dead cells disrupt how immune cells respond to wounds and patrol for infection

May 21, 2019

  • Immune cells prioritise the clearance of dead cells overriding their normal migration to sites of injury
  • University of Sheffield research paves the way for new therapies to manipulate how white blood cells get to and are kept at sites of injuries during healing
Dead cells disrupt immune responses and undermine defence against infection, new research has found.

The study, led by scientists at the University of Sheffield, revealed that cells which are programmed to die, a process known as apoptosis, can disrupt the normal function of immune cells, called macrophages. This can impact on how well they respond to wounds and patrol the body to seek out infection.

Our macrophages are needed at wound sites to prevent infection and to aid healing processes, but these white blood cells can also cause and worsen many human diseases, including cancer, heart disease and neurodegenerative disorders.

The findings, published in the journal PLOS Biology, show that immune cells prioritise the clearance of dead cells, which overrides their normal migration to sites of injury, impairing immune responses.

The research, which seeks to understand how immune cells are controlled, could help pave the way for new therapies to manipulate these cells and accelerate healing processes. This study gives scientists new insights into the mechanisms that control immune cells within our bodies, such as how they get to and are kept at sites of injuries.

Dr Iwan Evans, from the Department of Infection, Immunity and Cardiovascular Disease at the University of Sheffield who co-author of the paper, said: "Billions of cells die within our bodies on a daily basis and many of these are removed and digested by our immune cells.

"If this removal process goes wrong it can lead to damaging autoimmune conditions. Excessive or inappropriate immune responses worsen or cause a very broad range of human diseases from cancer to neurodegeneration.

"This work studies fundamental biological processes that are going on inside our bodies everyday that are necessary to keep us healthy."

The research to investigate the interactions between dying cells and immune cells was conducted using fruit flies which contain macrophage-like cells highly similar to our own immune cells. The new study also uncovered a novel role for a protein called Six-Microns-Under (or Simu) in keeping immune cells at sites of injury. Without this protein the macrophages left wound sites precociously.

Hannah Roddie, fellow co-author of the study and Research Associate at the Department of Infection, Immunity and Cardiovascular Disease at the University of Sheffield, said: "The study shows that the way fruit fly blood cells respond to injuries and dying cells is even more similar to how our own immune cells respond than previously thought.

"We are now looking into what signals macrophages use to track down dying cells and how they choose between the dead cells and wounds. We're fascinated to understand how immune cells are kept at the sites of injuries."
-end-
To view the full paper please visit: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.2006741

For further information please contact: Amy Huxtable, Media Relations Officer, University of Sheffield, 0114 222 9859, a.l.huxtable@sheffield.ac.uk

Notes to editors

The University of Sheffield

With almost 29,000 of the brightest students from over 140 countries, learning alongside over 1,200 of the best academics from across the globe, the University of Sheffield is one of the world's leading universities.

A member of the UK's prestigious Russell Group of leading research-led institutions, Sheffield offers world-class teaching and research excellence across a wide range of disciplines.

Unified by the power of discovery and understanding, staff and students at the university are committed to finding new ways to transform the world we live in.

Sheffield is the only university to feature in The Sunday Times 100 Best Not-For-Profit Organisations to Work For 2018 and for the last eight years has been ranked in the top five UK universities for Student Satisfaction by Times Higher Education.

Sheffield has six Nobel Prize winners among former staff and students and its alumni go on to hold positions of great responsibility and influence all over the world, making significant contributions in their chosen fields.

Global research partners and clients include Boeing, Rolls-Royce, Unilever, AstraZeneca, Glaxo SmithKline, Siemens and Airbus, as well as many UK and overseas government agencies and charitable foundations.

University of Sheffield

Related Cardiovascular Disease Articles:

Fighting cardiovascular disease with acne drug
Researchers from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg and Stanford University have found the cause of dilated cardiomyopathy - a leading cause of heart failure - and identified a potential treatment for it: a drug already used to treat acne.
A talk with your GP may prevent cardiovascular disease
Having a general practitioner (GP) who is trained in motivational interviewing may reduce your risk of getting cardiovascular disease.
Dilemma of COVID-19, aging and cardiovascular disease
Whether individuals should continue to take angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers in the context of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is discussed in this article.
Air pollution linked to dementia and cardiovascular disease
People continuously exposed to air pollution are at increased risk of dementia, especially if they also suffer from cardiovascular diseases, according to a study at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden published in the journal JAMA Neurology.
New insights into the effect of aging on cardiovascular disease
Aging adults are more likely to have - and die from - cardiovascular disease than their younger counterparts.
Premature death from cardiovascular disease
National data were used to examine changes from 2000 to 2015 in premature death (ages 25 to 64) from cardiovascular disease in the United States.
Ultrasound: The potential power for cardiovascular disease therapy
In the current issue of Cardiovascular Innovations and Applications volume 4, issue 2, pp.
Despite the ACA, millions of Americans with cardiovascular disease still can't get care
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death for Americans, yet millions with CVD or cardiovascular risk factors (CVRF) still can't access the care they need, even years after the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Excess weight and body fat cause cardiovascular disease
In the first Mendelian randomization study to look at this, researchers have found evidence that excess weight and body fat cause a range of heart and blood vessel diseases (rather than just being associated with it).
Enzyme may indicate predisposition to cardiovascular disease
Study suggests that people with low levels of PDIA1 in blood plasma may be at high risk of thrombosis; this group also investigated PDIA1's specific interactions in cancer.
More Cardiovascular Disease News and Cardiovascular Disease Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Debbie Millman: Designing Our Lives
From prehistoric cave art to today's social media feeds, to design is to be human. This hour, designer Debbie Millman guides us through a world made and remade–and helps us design our own paths.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#574 State of the Heart
This week we focus on heart disease, heart failure, what blood pressure is and why it's bad when it's high. Host Rachelle Saunders talks with physician, clinical researcher, and writer Haider Warraich about his book "State of the Heart: Exploring the History, Science, and Future of Cardiac Disease" and the ails of our hearts.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Insomnia Line
Coronasomnia is a not-so-surprising side-effect of the global pandemic. More and more of us are having trouble falling asleep. We wanted to find a way to get inside that nighttime world, to see why people are awake and what they are thinking about. So what'd Radiolab decide to do?  Open up the phone lines and talk to you. We created an insomnia hotline and on this week's experimental episode, we stayed up all night, taking hundreds of calls, spilling secrets, and at long last, watching the sunrise peek through.   This episode was produced by Lulu Miller with Rachael Cusick, Tracie Hunte, Tobin Low, Sarah Qari, Molly Webster, Pat Walters, Shima Oliaee, and Jonny Moens. Want more Radiolab in your life? Sign up for our newsletter! We share our latest favorites: articles, tv shows, funny Youtube videos, chocolate chip cookie recipes, and more. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.