Macrophages need two signals to begin healing process

May 12, 2017 by Bill Hathaway
Macrophages need two signals to begin healing process
Images of lung sections from control mice (left) or mice lacking sensors for dead cells (right) after infection with the hookworm. Credit: Yale University

In the immune system, macrophages act not only as soldiers responding to invading pathogens but also help rebuild the injured tissue once the infection is defeated. A new study by Yale Medical School researchers published in the journal Science show how they accomplish this seemingly unrelated task. 

The instructions to macrophages to commence rebuilding were long believed to come from immune system factors called cytokines, which are detected early during infection. But, researchers asked, why would cytokines such as IL-4/IL-13 be active in wound healing?

"The body does not want to repair an , so it does not make sense that the cytokines should be sufficient to instruct tissue healing," said Carla V. Rothlin of Yale's Department of Immunobiology and Pharmacology, co-senior author of the paper along with Sourav Ghosh of the Department of Neurology and Pharmacology. 

The researchers report that detection of dead cells along with the cytokines are necessary for macrophages to shift into repair mode. "The have a coincidence detector that triggers their tissue-repair program," Ghosh added.

Understanding this molecular repair mechanism may lead to better treatments of diseases, Rothlin said.  "It's not enough to just put out the fire and reduce inflammation; we also need to be able to induce healing in such as colitis." 

Explore further: Finely tuned electrical fields give wound healing a jolt

More information: Lidia Bosurgi et al. Macrophage function in tissue repair and remodeling requires IL-4 or IL-13 with apoptotic cells, Science (2017). DOI: 10.1126/science.aai8132

Related Stories

Finely tuned electrical fields give wound healing a jolt

June 2, 2016
A new research report appearing in the June 2016 issue of the Journal of Leukocyte Biology, opens up the possibility that small electrical currents might activate certain immune cells to jumpstart or speed wound healing. ...

Researchers identify a new HIV reservoir

April 17, 2017
HIV cure research to date has focused on clearing the virus from T cells, a type of white blood cell that is an essential part of the immune system. Yet investigators in the Division of Infectious Diseases at the University ...

How cancers trick the immune system into helping rather than harming them

February 16, 2017
Scientists at Trinity College Dublin have discovered how certain cancers hijack the immune system for their benefit, tricking it into helping rather than harming them.

Breakthrough research discovery to help heal chronic wounds

December 14, 2012
(Medical Xpress)—The University of Queensland researchers have successfully restored wound healing in a model of diabetes paving the way for new treatments for chronic wounds.

Harnessing the body's immune system to heal wounds naturally

January 6, 2016
In what could be a pivotal step toward repairing non-healing wounds and damaged organs, a Drexel University biomedical engineer has identified an immune cell as a potential strategy for growing blood vessels.

Immunoproteasome inhibits healing function of macrophages

March 22, 2016
Scientists of Helmholtz Zentrum München, a partner in the German Center for Lung Research (DZL), have observed that the immunoproteasome inhibits the repair function of alveolar macrophages. This opens up new therapeutic ...

Recommended for you

Druglike molecules produced by gut bacteria can affect gut, immune health

November 23, 2017
Stanford researchers found that manipulating the gut microbe Clostridium sporogenes changed levels of molecules in the bloodstreams of mice and, in turn, affected their health.

Study explores whole-body immunity

November 21, 2017
Over the next few months, millions of people will receive vaccinations in the hope of staving off the flu—and the fever, pain, and congestion that come with it.

Drug could cut transplant rejection

November 21, 2017
A diabetes drug currently undergoing development could be repurposed to help end transplant rejection, without the side-effects of current immunosuppressive drugs, according to new research by Queen Mary University of London ...

Atopic eczema—one size does not fit all

November 21, 2017
Researchers from the UK and Netherlands have identified five distinct subgroups of eczema, a finding that helps explain how the condition can affect people at different stages of their lives.

Breast milk found to protect against food allergy

November 20, 2017
Eating allergenic foods during pregnancy can protect your child from food allergies, especially if you breastfeed, suggests new research from Boston Children's Hospital. The study, published online today in the Journal of ...

Zika-related nerve damage caused by immune response to the virus

November 20, 2017
The immune system's response to the Zika virus, rather than the virus itself, may be responsible for nerve-related complications of infection, according to a Yale study. This insight could lead to new ways of treating patients ...

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.