Dendritic Cells Protect Against Acute Pancreatitis

Dana Buckalew (1 PM Micro) found this article from Science Daily, detailing how the immune system is way more complicated than we detailed in class.  The Dendritic Cells that Dana is talking about are related to the monocytes and macrophages we talked about in class, and play a critical role in helping B cells and T cells produce their effects. Here is Dana’s report on how they control the inflammatory response:

After multiple studies and thorough research performed by the NYU Langone Medical Center, scientists have a much better understanding of the important of dendritic cells in the human body. Dendritic cells function as antigen-presenting cells and are found in the nose, lungs, stomach, and linings of the intestines. They interact with T-cells and B-cells that work to initiate an immune response in the body. These cells have been shown to help protect the body from pancreatitis, a dangerous swelling and inflammation of the pancreas gland and a potentially life threatening condition. The pancreas is a vital organ body that assists in digestion and absorption of food in the human body. Researchers discovered that high levels of dendritic cells at the site of injury significantly protect the pancreas. They also noticed that lower levels of dendritic cells can intensify injury to the pancreas. Dendritic cells are an important eliminator of inflammation because they activate an immune response in our bodies when inflammation and swelling arise.

In this study, researchers performed an experiment by tested mice with acute pancreatitis. As they predicted, they found that in the pancreas where the infection resided, an increased amount of dendritic cells were present. This proved that the innate immune system produced a response for dendritic cells to surround the pancreas gland at the sight of the swelling and inflammation. To further confirm their research, researchers then reduced the number of dendritic cells at the site of inflammation in the mouse. Within four days of depleting the dendritic cells, the mice died from necrosis, a complete cell and tissue death. They then concluded, based off the negative effects from this experiment, that dendritic cells play a huge role in pancreatic organ survival. Without these dendritic cells, the body is unable to fight off pancreatitis which will ultimately result in death.

I found this article very interesting because I can relate it to our microbiology class, and also my anatomy class. Until now, scientists did not completely understand cellular regulation of this disease. After studying the body’s defenses against disease, I thought learning about the key to inflammation would be an appropriate subject. The article mentioned that science is “one step closer to more effective treatments for this harmful human condition”. They now know that dendritic cells are the key cellular mediators of inflammation during this serious disease. However, further research is needed to clarify these cell functions and necessary in order to develop an immune-directed therapy against this disease.


About ycpmicro

My name is David Singleton, and I am an Associate Professor of Microbiology at York College of Pennsylvania. My main course is BIO230, a course taken by allied-health students at YCP. Views on this site are my own.

Posted on December 2, 2011, in Guest Post. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Dendritic Cells Protect Against Acute Pancreatitis.

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