OCT 27, 2015 7:42 AM PDT

Our Immune System Could Be Protecting Us From Being Overweight

WRITTEN BY: Kara Marker
We depend on our immune cells to protect us against infections from foreign invaders like bacteria, viruses, and parasites. New research shows that a rare type of dendritic cell could be doing even more to keep us healthy. These rare cells could be preventing metabolic syndrome - obesity, hypertension, high blood sugar, and high cholesterol. 

A new study from the Weizmann Institute of Science, published in Immunology this month, involved feeding experimental mice a regular diet, as opposed to a high fat diet, to investigate the role of rare dendritic cells that contain perforin in preventing metabolic sydnrome. Dendritic cells respond to infection by displaying antigens on their cell surface to alert T cells of an invasion so T cells can instruct B cells to make antibodies targeting the invader (The Rockefeller University).  Perforin is used by lymphocytes to poke holes in target membranes as a cytolytic mechanism (Immunology Today). 
A dendritic cell
Experimental mice without perforin-containing dendritic cells became overweight and eventually developed other signs of metabolic syndrome.

After further investigation, the researchers also found that T cells of the mice without perforin-containing dendritic cells were causing inflammation at abnormally elevated levels in the mice fat tissue. When these T cells were removed, the mice did not become obese. The researchers concluded that perforin-containing dendritic cells must be regulating the presence of these T cells in fat cells.  

Further investigation is required to determine the complete role of perforin-containing dendritic cells. There is a possibility that these cells are also related to autoimmune disease, since the mice lacking perforin-containing dendritic cells were found to be more prone to developing an autoimmune disease similar to multiple sclerosis in humans. 

To hear more about the traditional role of dendritic cells in innate immunology, watch the following video.



Source: Newswise 
About the Author
  • I am a scientific journalist and enthusiast, especially in the realm of biomedicine. I am passionate about conveying the truth in scientific phenomena and subsequently improving health and public awareness. Sometimes scientific research needs a translator to effectively communicate the scientific jargon present in significant findings. I plan to be that translating communicator, and I hope to decrease the spread of misrepresented scientific phenomena! Check out my science blog: ScienceKara.com.
You May Also Like
JUL 20, 2019
Cardiology
JUL 20, 2019
Strep Throat Can Lead To Heart Complications
Rheumatic fever (RF) is a complication resulting from untreated strep throat. Caused by group A streptococcal infection, rheumatic fever was once the numbe...
OCT 04, 2019
Immunology
OCT 04, 2019
Researchers Identify Pair of "Recruiters" that Pull T Cells to the Lungs
How do CD8 T cells make it to the lungs to help in the fight against infection? Why don’t T cells remain longer in the lungs? How can science optimiz...
OCT 31, 2019
Cancer
OCT 31, 2019
Unpacking lactate's role in the Warburg effect
In a recent issue of Nature, the findings of one study made a particularly big splash: how and why cancer cells use energy differently than healthy cells. ...
NOV 12, 2019
Immunology
NOV 12, 2019
Allergy Shots May Work for Kids with Pollen Food Allergy Syndrome
It’s not common for young children to develop pollen food allergy syndrome (PFAS), but for those that do, there’s not too much parents can do o...
NOV 20, 2019
Health & Medicine
NOV 20, 2019
Could your bedding make you sick?
Do you use duvets or pillows filled with goose or duck feathers? While indeed cozy, doctors have issued a new warning related to feather filled bedding cal...
FEB 10, 2020
Immunology
FEB 10, 2020
How Cancer Evades the Immune System Time and Time Again
Scientists discovered a new mechanism by which cancer cells evade the immune system to further their own agenda: invade, multiply, and spread. Identifying...
Loading Comments...