New receptors encourage immune cells to dispose of dead cells

9 September 2014

New research has identified a way to encourage immune cells to rid the body of dead cells.

In most tissues, specialised immune cells have the ability to engulf billions of dead cells, but when this doesn't happen it can lead to the destruction of healthy tissue and trigger autoimmune disease such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis.

However, a research team at Salk has identified two critical receptors on these specialised immune cells that help identify and engulf dead cells. The findings, published in Nature Immunology, identified two receptors - Mer and Axl - that are responsible for recognising dead cells in a variety of environments within the body.

"To target these receptors as treatments for autoimmune disease and cancer, it's important to know exactly which receptor is doing what. And this discovery tells us that," said senior author of the work Greg Lemke, professor of molecular neurobiology at Salk.

It found that Mer is the "steady-as-she-goes" receptor, as it cleans out dead cells in healthy tissues on a daily basis, while Axl is the "all-hands-on-deck" receptor and only comes into action in an inflammatory environment resulting from infection or tissue trauma. 

Posted by Jeanette Royston

 

Health News is provided by Adfero in collaboration with Spire Healthcare. Please note that all copy above is ©Adfero Ltd. and does not reflect views or opinions of Spire Healthcare unless explicitly stated. Additional comments on the page from individual Spire consultants do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of other consultants or Spire Healthcare.

Find a treatment, test or scan available at:

or

Find a consultant

Use one or more of the options below to search for a consultant and link through to view their Spire profile.

or

Let us help you

fill out this form and we will get back to you:

Please select a hospital

We can call you

Please enter your details below and we will call you back.

What is the aim of your enquiry?

Please select a hospital

If we are unable to reach you by phone, please include your email address so that we can get in touch...

Categories

Healthcare

© Spire Healthcare Group plc (2016)