Friday, March 15, 2013

Study: T Cells Communicate in Clusters

Sketch mine. Um. It's harder to draw gossiping T cells and a water cooler than I thought. 

Sjogren's Forum tweeted a link to this fascinating University of California San Francisco interview of senior scientist Matthew Krummel, PhD, UCSF professor of pathology regarding the results of his recent study:

Immune Cells Cluster and Communicate ‘Like Bees,’ Researcher Says 

They don’t bust the same moves as bees, but T cells gather together and communicate essential information to each other in a similar way, Krummel said, thereby helping to coordinate immune responses directed against invading pathogens. This discovery might lead to useful therapeutic interventions to fight disease, according to Krummel.  .....Conversely, Krummel speculated that in case of autoimmune disorders, such as diabetes or lupus, “it might be possible to attenuate the immune response by blocking the formation of a memory pool.
Results of the study were published online March 10 in Nature Immunology.
(Bolding mine)
So.....if I'm understanding this correctly, and please go read the article in it's entirety, it's very good; my T cells hang out  together around the Julia office water cooler and gossip every day:

Krummel’s lab team found that after individual T cells survey lymph nodes and sample foreign matter, such as vaccines, bacteria or viruses, they come together as a group during what he and his team call the “critical differentiation period.” This occurs several hours to one day after exposure.
“They cluster together for the purpose of sharing information, transmitting what they’ve discovered about the new pathogen or vaccine, which in turn helps the immune system mount a coordinated response to the foreign matter,” Krummel said.
I can just imagine the conversation: "Did you SEE the virus that T cell Agnes was checking out yesterday? MmMmMmMmMMM!"

"No way! Just last week she was all over some wild bacteria chasing around the jejunum."

"Ooo, that girl does get around..." "Let's go check out this virus dude....she says he's pretty hot.."

This answers a LOT of questions that I have about my errant T cells. I just knew it -- they've been slacking off on company time hanging around and yakking. Dr. Krummel hypothesizes that "blocking the formation of the memory pool" may slow down autoimmune activity.

So get back to your cubicles, you bunch of gossiping T cells. NOW. I want to see far fewer memory pools around here.

Or there will be NO Christmas bonuses.

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