Oddly shaped immune cells cause fibrosis

December 22, 2016

Scientists at the Immunology Frontier Research Center (IFReC) at Osaka University, Japan, report a new group of monocytes they call SatM. Studies in mice show that SatM may be responsible for causing fibrosis and creates a new drug target for an ailment that has little effective therapies.

Fibrosis is a form of scarring that could if uncontrolled cause deleterious thickening of tissues. Although it is known that fibrosis is caused by an activated immune system, which specific cells are responsible continuous to elude researchers.

Scientists at IFReC may have found this subgroup, as they report in Nature a class of monocyte cells with strange morphology. "The cells had a bi-lobed segmented nuclear shape and many cytoplasmic granules. We therefore called them 'Segregated nucleus atypical monocytes (SatM)'", said IFReC Professor Shizuo Akira.

To identify this subgroup, the researchers looked at immune cell subpopulations that predominantly appeared in fibrosis. "These cells were regulated by C/EBPβ," observed Akira.

Detailed examination of immune cells showed that the C/EBPβ mutant mice, unlike normal mice, produced no SatM, whereas no other observed immune cell population was changed. The mice were also significantly more resistant to fibrosis. On the other hand, when the mutant mice were exposed to SatM, their susceptibility to fibrosis rose.

Although Dr. Akira, Dr. Satoh and his colleagues describe SatM as a subset of monocytes, SatM showed characteristics that suggested they were hybrids of different immune cells. According to Akira, gene analysis found SatM "showed granulocyte markers, but SatM are definitely not granulocytes. These cell type is one of monocyte."

Additional study found the progenitor cells responsible for producing SatM. Adoptive transfer of these progenitors into mutant mice unable to produce SatM resulted in a SatM population, and C/EBPβ was found to be essential for maintaining the progenitors.

The ability to isolate cells specifically related to fibrosis gives hope for new therapies.

"Decades of research have shown that immune cells are extremely diverse," said Akira. "Clear definitions of the subpopulations are essential for properly diagnosing and treating diseases. Our discovery of SatM should improve therapeutic strategies against fibrosis."
-end-


Osaka University

Related Immune Cells Articles from Brightsurf:

Gut immune cells may help send MS into remission
An international research team led by UCSF scientists has shown, for the first time, that gut immune cells travel to the brain during multiple sclerosis (MS) flare-ups in patients.

Immune cells sculpt circuits in the brain
Brain immune cells, called microglia, protect the brain from infection and inflammation.

How tumor cells evade the immune defense
Scientists are increasingly trying to use the body's own immune system to fight cancer.

Breast cancer cells can reprogram immune cells to assist in metastasis
Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center investigators report they have uncovered a new mechanism by which invasive breast cancer cells evade the immune system to metastasize, or spread, to other areas of the body.

Breast cancer cells turn killer immune cells into allies
Researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine have discovered that breast cancer cells can alter the function of immune cells known as Natural killer (NK) cells so that instead of killing the cancer cells, they facilitate their spread to other parts of the body.

Engineered immune cells recognize, attack human and mouse solid-tumor cancer cells
CAR-T therapy has been used successfully in patients with blood cancers such as lymphoma and leukemia.

Mapping immune cells in brain tumors
It is not always possible to completely remove malignant brain tumors by surgery so that further treatment is necessary.

Nutrient deficiency in tumor cells attracts cells that suppress the immune system
A study led by IDIBELL researchers and published this week in the American journal PNAS shows that, by depriving tumor cells of glucose, they release a large number of signaling molecules.

Experience matters for immune cells
The discovery that immune T cells have a spectrum of responsiveness could shed light on how our immune system responds to infections and cancer, and what goes wrong in immune diseases.

Immune cells against Alzheimer's?
German researchers have developed a novel, experimental approach against Alzheimer's.

Read More: Immune Cells News and Immune Cells 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.