Immune cells, 'macrophages' become activated by body temperature

April 9, 2012

Macrophages playing an important role in the immune system eat and fight against pathogens and foreign substances in the very beginning of infection. In this condition, macrophages produce reactive oxygen species for sterilization. However, the relation with the temperature sensor was not previously known.

Professor Makoto TOMINAGA from National Institute for Physiological Sciences (Okazaki Institute for Integrative Bioscience), National Institutes of Natural Sciences, and his research team member Ms. Makiko KASHIO have identified the mechanism through which TRPM2 is activated by body temperature with hydrogen peroxide (a kind of reactive ) produced by immune reactions. This research result was reported online in the week by .

The research group focused on the relation between hydrogen peroxide and TRPM2. Although TRPM2 is usually activated by high temperature near 48oC in the absence of endogenous , it becomes activated at our normal body temperature with hydrogen peroxide production. It means that hydrogen peroxide works as "a switch" which controls TRPM2 function. In addition, they found that phagocytic activity of was enhanced in the febrile temperature (38.5 C).

Professor TOMINAGA says, "It was also revealed that oxidation of TRPM2 by hydrogen peroxide is involved in the switch-on mechanism and we identified a single amino acid which is oxidized. This newly identified mechanism of TRPM2 regulation may lead to the development of new or drugs for infection. When we are infected with bacteria, we often run a fever, and it is known that body temperature might be important for our immune system. TRPM2 might explain the mechanism through which fever boosts up our immune system."

Explore further: Hydrogen peroxide provides clues to immunity, wound healing and tumor biology

Related Stories

A TRP that makes our cells feel hyper

March 8, 2012

A large change in the volume of a cell, from its basal level, is detrimental to its health. Therefore, our cells are equipped with mechanisms to maintain their constant volume. When a cell detects an environmental change ...

Recommended for you

Epigenomic changes are key to innate immunological memory

August 31, 2015

A research team led by Keisuke Yoshida and Shunsuke Ishii of the RIKEN Molecular Genetics Laboratory has revealed that epigenomic changes induced by pathogen infections, mediated by a transcription factor called ATF7, are ...

Team finds early inflammatory response paralyzes T cells

August 18, 2015

In a discovery that is likely to rewrite immunology text books, researchers at UC Davis have found that early exposure to inflammatory cytokines, such as interleukin 2, can "paralyze" CD4 T cells, immune components that help ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.