MedicineWorld.Org
Your gateway to the world of medicine
Home
News
Cancer News
About Us
Cancer
Health Professionals
Patients and public
Contact Us
Disclaimer

Medicineworld.org: 'Nurse cells' make life and death decisions

Back to infectious disease news Blogs list Cancer blog  


Subscribe To Infectious Disease News RSS Feed  RSS content feed What is RSS feed?

'Nurse cells' make life and death decisions

'Nurse cells' make life and death decisions
Thymocytes are taken up by thymic "nurse" cells.
Credit: Jerry Guyden, CUNY
"Nurse cells" play an important role in deciding which developing infection-fighting cells, called T cells, live and which die, as per research funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and published in the recent issue of the journal Experimental Biology and Medicine.

The infection-fighting cells, known as thymocytes or T cells, live in the thymus, an organ in the upper portion of the chest. Loss of the thymus results in severe immunodeficiency and increased susceptibility to infection. The function of T cells produced by the thymus is to recognize harmful invaders. Once invaders have been identified, T cells then attempt to eliminate disease-infected cells.

"In early studies, it was suggested that thymic nurse cells only removed non-functional thymocytes," said Eve Barak, program director in NSF's Division of Molecular and Cellular Biology. "This research shows that nurse cells are performing a much bigger role in the thymus than we thought".

Thymic nurse cells were given their name because of their close relationship with thymocytes. These nurse cells have been reported to take up as a number of as 50 destined-to-die thymocytes into their own cell bodies.

Thymic nurse cells were discovered in 1980. Their existence was debated because a number of researchers found it difficult to think that a cell could internalize another cell, said Jerry Guyden, a biologist at the City College of New York and lead researcher.

The thymus is present in most vertebrates, with a similar structure and function as the human thymus. Animal thymic tissue sold in butcher shops or at meat counters is known as sweetbread.


Posted by: Mark    Source




Did you know?
"Nurse cells" play an important role in deciding which developing infection-fighting cells, called T cells, live and which die, as per research funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and published in the recent issue of the journal Experimental Biology and Medicine.

Medicineworld.org: 'Nurse cells' make life and death decisions

SARS Main| SARS Abroad| SARS and Goverment| SARS Information in different languages| Media about SARS| Physicians resources for SARS| Reference information for SARS| Updates on SARS|

Copyright statement
The contents of this web page are protected. Legal action may follow for reproduction of materials without permission.