The immune cells consult with neighbors to make decisions, Many people consult their friends and neighbors before making big decisions, It turns out that the cells also consult with their neighbors in the human body.
Scientists and doctors have long known that immune cells migrate to the site of infection, which people think of as swelling, inflammation, redness and pain.
Researchers have now found new evidence that this collection is not only the result of immune activation. The immune cells consult with neighbors to make decisions.
Immune cells count their neighbors before deciding whether to start the immune system or not.
Understanding how inflammation responds and how the immune response can be activated can lead to new therapies to treat chronic autoimmune diseases or mobilize the immune system to fight cancer.
“This is an aspect of immune function that was previously unknown,” the researchers said. Cells make coordinated decisions.
They are not activated equally, but decide together how many cells are activated so that the system can eliminate the shared threat without dangerously exaggerating it.
Much of this work is based on developing new computational models to interpret our experiments and to explain how cells make computations to make consistent decisions, researchers say.
The immune system continues to work to maintain balance.
When threats are introduced, the system must respond strong enough to deal with infection or disease, but not strong enough to harm. The immune cells consult with neighbors to make decisions.
As for the immune response, this is the difference between life and death, the researchers said. If your body responds to bacterial infections, you can die from septic shock.
If your body does not respond adequately, you can die from a serious infection. To stay healthy, the body needs to find a balance between these extremes.
The research team wants to better understand how the immune system makes decisions like that.
Immune cells are the only agents that need to work together, and nature has found a way to get them on the same page. The cells reach a different activation state, but in such a way that the response of the entire population is calibrated.
To investigate this phenomenon, the researchers examined macrophages, a type of immune cell that is part of the first line of defense against infection and disease.
They observed how macrophages react to chemicals made by bacteria, red flags that warn the body of infection, and use techniques that researchers can use to monitor individual cell responses over time. The immune cells consult with neighbors to make decisions.
They then use a computational model to interpret and explain this observation.
Over time, cells monitor their environment to get a picture of their neighbors, researchers say. Each cell is ready to act as a high activator or not.
Now that we know that there is this additional layer that controls the immune system, it opens up all ways to find out if there are new targets for immune modulation. The researchers believe that this information can be used to develop better medicines and control the development of modern cell therapy.