Posts Tagged ‘helper T cells’

Healing Side of Troublesome T Cells

Reported by: Irina Robu, PhD

Researchers from John Hopkins and Kennedy Krieger Institute report that immune system cells related to allergies similarly turn out to direct healing of mouse muscle wounds when paired with biologic “scaffolding” to support them. The paper published in Science on April 15,2016 show that immune system is the key to fighting infectious diseases but also kick-start healing after injury and indicate that biomaterial scaffolds can more effectively spur healing if designed to partner with immune cells.

According to research done by Jennifer Elisseeff, PhD from John Hopkins University School of Medicine, biodegradable scaffolds have shown promise in promoting regrowth of damage tissue by giving the body’s own stem cells a place to anchor and start their work. The same scaffolds also spark healing activity from immune cells.

To learn more about the immune cells involved and their response, the researchers in Elisseeff’s lab surgically removed part of the thigh muscles of mice and implanted scaffolds known to promote healing in animals. After a week, wound sites with scaffolds had more white blood cells than did wounds without scaffolds, and many of those cells were churning out a chemical signal, interleukin-4, type 2 helper T cells. To understand what the role of those cells might be, the team performed the same procedure on mice genetically modified to lack T cells and found that their wounds didn’t ramp up interleukin production or heal as well as those of the normal mice. Supplementary investigation revealed that one role of the type 2 helper T cells was to activate and train another type of immune cell, called macrophages, at the wound site. “

Elisseeff notes that there is still much to learn about how immune cells respond to various kinds of biomaterials that might be used as scaffolds — an area her team continues to investigate.



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