Can we all just get along? Immunological memory learns tolerance

January 15, 2013 by Chris Defrancesco
Can we all just get along? Immunological memory learns tolerance
In this image from the UConn Health Center immunology researchers’ study, the T cells are depicted in green, while the red indicates dendritic cells, or cells that deliver antigens. Credit: Lefrançois Lab

(Medical Xpress)—Immunology researchers at the University of Connecticut Health Center are learning more about memory T cells, which are cells that fight infection from a previously encountered antigen.

"This work shows that under normal circumstances, memory ignore self-antigens, thereby prohibiting autoimmunity," says Leo Lefrançois, Department of Immunology chair, whose laboratory developed a genetically modified mouse model that made the research possible. "However, when inflammation is introduced the can respond, helping to explain why infections can trigger autoimmune diseases."

Memory T cells normally exist to protect from re-infection. But memory T cells also can cause autoimmune disease when they cross-react with self-antigens, sometimes triggered by infection.

An antigen is a substance normally foreign to the body that evokes an immune response and is bound by T cells. Autoimmunity can occur when T cells bind self-antigens. Co-authors include Evan Jellison, assistant professor of immunology, Lynn Puddington, associate professor of immunology and medicine, former UConn Health Center postdoctoral fellow Michael Turner, and research assistants Elizabeth Lingenheld and Li Zhu. Their work is published in the Dec. 26 issue of the .

"These results have implications for relapsing remitting forms of autoimmune disease as well as for cancer therapy where memory T cells might ignore but could potentially be triggered to attack the tumor," Jellison says.

Explore further: Research describes advantages of new vaccine adjuvant

More information: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23236165

Related Stories

Research describes advantages of new vaccine adjuvant

December 12, 2011
New research from the laboratory of Dr. Elizabeth Leadbetter at the Trudeau Institute may lead to a whole new class of vaccines. Dr. Leadbetter's lab has discovered new properties of a potential vaccine adjuvant that suggest ...

Early activation of immune response could lead to better vaccines

August 30, 2012
Researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have discovered a new "first response" mechanism that the immune system uses to respond to infection. The findings challenge the current understanding ...

Rare B cells regulate immune responses, may offer novel treatment for autoimmune diseases

October 14, 2012
Reproducing a rare type of B cell in the laboratory and infusing it back into the body may provide an effective treatment for severe autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis or rheumatoid arthritis, according to researchers ...

The immune system has protective memory cells, researchers discover

November 28, 2011
(Medical Xpress) -- The immune system possesses a type of cell that can be activated by tissues within the body to remind the immune system not to attack our own molecules, cells and organs, UCSF researchers have discovered.

Pregnancy generates maternal immune-suppressive cells that protect the fetus

September 26, 2012
A new study published online in the journal Nature suggests it might be possible to develop vaccines to prevent premature birth and other pregnancy complications. If so, such vaccines would be the first intended to stimulate ...

Recommended for you

Australian researchers in peanut allergy breakthrough

August 17, 2017
Australian researchers have reported a major breakthrough in the relief of deadly peanut allergy with the discovery of a long-lasting treatment they say offers hope that a cure will soon be possible.

Genetic variants found to play key role in human immune system

August 16, 2017
It is widely recognized that people respond differently to infections. This can partially be explained by genetics, shows a new study published today in Nature Communications by an international collaboration of researchers ...

Study identifies a new way to prevent a deadly fungal infection spreading to the brain

August 16, 2017
Research led by the University of Birmingham has discovered a way to stop a deadly fungus from 'hijacking' the body's immune system and spreading to the brain.

Biophysics explains how immune cells kill bacteria

August 16, 2017
(Tokyo, August 16) A new data analysis technique, moving subtrajectory analysis, designed by researchers at Tokyo Institute of Technology, defines the dynamics and kinetics of key molecules in the immune response to an infection. ...

How a nutrient, glutamine, can control gene programs in cells

August 15, 2017
The 200 different types of cells in the body all start with the same DNA genome. To differentiate into families of bone cells, muscle cells, blood cells, neurons and the rest, differing gene programs have to be turned on ...

Scientists identify gene that controls immune response to chronic viral infections

August 15, 2017
For nearly 20 years, Tatyana Golovkina, PhD, a microbiologist, geneticist and immunologist at the University of Chicago, has been working on a particularly thorny problem: Why are some people and animals able to fend off ...

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.