TalTech immunologists develop new leucocyte markers

October 30, 2019

An article entitled "Human Peripheral Blood Eosinophils Express High Levels of the Purinergic Receptor P2X4" written by an international immunology research group was recently published in the scientific journal Frontiers in Immunology.

This is a collaborative work of scientists from the Immunology Laboratory of Tallinn University of Technology, from research institutes of Sweden, France and Taiwan (Karolinska Institutet, Université Paris-Saclay, INRA, National Tsing-Hua University); it also involved medical doctors from the North Estonia Medical Centre.

A member of the research group, Associate Professor at TalTech's Division of Gene Technology Sirje Rüütel Boudinot says, "Our seven-year research focused primarily on the study of a pain receptor and its involvement in the potential development of inflammatory and cancerous lesions".

The analysis was linked to previous studies of these laboratories targeting mechanisms of multiple sclerosis (MS). Multiple sclerosis is still an incurable but widespread disease of the central nervous system, which disrupts the smooth flow of nerve impulses. It causes an inflammatory autoimmune disorder - the body's natural defences attack its own nervous tissue.

Dr Rüütel Boudinot says, "The role of the receptor P2X4 in the development of multiple diseases has been little explored so far. The receptor mediates interactions between a cell and the external environment, leading to its activation, i.e. to modification of its biology and metabolism. Our studies help to understand cells' inflammatory response and involvement in pain."

Since MS is an autoimmune disorder leading to brain lesions, the researchers explored possible mechanisms controlling immune cell activation, and their interactions with neurons and other cells of the brain.

"In the course of the research, we used antibodies (specific markers) we produced, that are directed against the P2X4 receptor. P2X4 is an important receptor expressed by nerve cells. It plays a key role in pain hypersensitivity. So far, the expression and function of the P2X4 receptor has been mostly studied in the nervous system. This receptor, however, is engaged in a communication between the immune system and the nervous system.

The researchers demonstrated by using their marker that human eosinophils (a type of immune cells, subtype of leucocytes) express high levels of P2X4. This in turn means that the marker produced can be used for the study of allergies, as well as inflammatory and cancerous lesions in which these cells are involved. The analyses indicate that eosinophils could rapidly mediate signals from the nervous system.

"Our findings pave the way for future studies of the role of P2X4 receptors in eosinophil activation. They support the hypothesis that eosinophils play an important role in our immune system in addition to pain and other known functions. P2X4 receptors bind the neurotransmitter (ATP) adenosine triphosphate that can be associated with tumors; the expression level of P2X4 is also high in several tumors. In the future, we will explore the potential role of P2X4 in the control of eosinophil responses against cancerous lesions," Dr Rüütel Boudinot says.
Additional information: Dr Sirje Rüütel Boudinot, sirje.ruutel@taltech.ee

Source: Frontiers in Immunologyhttps://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fimmu.2019.02074/full

Kersti Vähi, TalTech Research Administration Office

Estonian Research Council

Related Immune System Articles from Brightsurf:

How the immune system remembers viruses
For a person to acquire immunity to a disease, T cells must develop into memory cells after contact with the pathogen.

How does the immune system develop in the first days of life?
Researchers highlight the anti-inflammatory response taking place after birth and designed to shield the newborn from infection.

Memory training for the immune system
The immune system will memorize the pathogen after an infection and can therefore react promptly after reinfection with the same pathogen.

Immune system may have another job -- combatting depression
An inflammatory autoimmune response within the central nervous system similar to one linked to neurodegenerative diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS) has also been found in the spinal fluid of healthy people, according to a new Yale-led study comparing immune system cells in the spinal fluid of MS patients and healthy subjects.

COVID-19: Immune system derails
Contrary to what has been generally assumed so far, a severe course of COVID-19 does not solely result in a strong immune reaction - rather, the immune response is caught in a continuous loop of activation and inhibition.

Immune cell steroids help tumours suppress the immune system, offering new drug targets
Tumours found to evade the immune system by telling immune cells to produce immunosuppressive steroids.

Immune system -- Knocked off balance
Instead of protecting us, the immune system can sometimes go awry, as in the case of autoimmune diseases and allergies.

Too much salt weakens the immune system
A high-salt diet is not only bad for one's blood pressure, but also for the immune system.

Parkinson's and the immune system
Mutations in the Parkin gene are a common cause of hereditary forms of Parkinson's disease.

How an immune system regulator shifts the balance of immune cells
Researchers have provided new insight on the role of cyclic AMP (cAMP) in regulating the immune response.

Read More: Immune System News and Immune System Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.