A cellular tango: Immune and nerve cells work together to fight gut infections
NewsRX Health & Science
The study, published
"The immune system and neuronal system don't act independently," said senior author Dr.
"These guys are dancing like a tango,"
The cells' close proximity led the researchers to wonder if they may be communicating. That's when they discovered that the ILC2 cells had a receptor for a protein called neuromedin U (NMU), which acts as a messenger for the nerve cells. In laboratory experiments, the investigators found that exposing ILC2 cells to NMU causes the ILC2 cells to rapidly multiply and secrete chemicals called cytokines that may help trigger an immune response or cause inflammation.
Administering NMU to mice infected with a gut parasite triggered inflammation and a powerful immune response that helped the mice more quickly expel the parasites. Conversely, mice genetically engineered to lack receptors for NMU were more susceptible to the parasites, allowing them to multiply rapidly in the rodents' gut. The study shows that the NMU-producing nerve cells help prime the ILC2 cells, enabling them to rapidly and effectively respond to infection.
"Where we are most excited is thinking about multiple chronic inflammatory diseases that might be related to this neuronal-immune axis and where we might be able to intervene,"
Keywords for this news article include: Weill Cornell Medicine.
Our reports deliver fact-based news of research and discoveries from around the world. Copyright 2017, NewsRx LLC