Featured Immune System Research

Enzyme Initiates Protective Immune Responses Against Gut Parasites

Acidic mammalian chitinase, or AMCase, an enzyme present in humans and other mammals, plays a key role in initiating protective immune responses against certain parasitic gut infections, a new NIAID study shows. The findings in mice suggest that AMCase, which had previously been implicated in allergic lung disease, is critical for defense against gastrointestinal infections with parasitic worms called helminth. Read more about an enzyme that initiates protective immune responses against gut parasites.

NIAID Study Reveals Differences in Immune Cell Signaling in Humans and Mice

A new study by NIAID researchers uncovers key differences in the roles of certain cell-signaling proteins in mouse and human immune cells. Because mice often are used as models of human disease in preclinical research, it is critical to understand how they may differ from humans at the cellular level. Read more about an NIAID study that reveals the differences in immune cell signaling in humans and mice.

Immune Cell Clustering Suppresses Autoimmunity in Healthy Tissues

In a new study in mice, NIAID researchers describe how regulatory immune cells help suppress autoimmunity by forming clusters around "self-reactive" immune cells—those primed to mount an immune response against the body's own cells and tissues. Their findings reveal that self-reactive immune T cells are activated on a regular basis, and regulatory cells cluster around them to suppress autoimmune responses and limit tissue damage. These insights increase understanding of how healthy tissues work to contain autoimmunity. Read more about how immune cell clustering suppresses autoimmunity in healthy tissues.

From Yeast to Humans: Basic Research Provides Insight Into Rare Disease

In a new study, NIAID scientists and colleagues describe a regulatory mechanism that helps control autophagy, a natural process that cells use to recycle nutrients, remove unneeded components, and respond to inflammation. Their findings have wide-ranging implications, from helping explain the virulence of a fungal pathogen to understanding inflammatory responses in humans. Importantly, the scientists also identify a potential biomarker to monitor disease activity in people with a rare immunodeficiency. Read more about basic research that provides insight into a rare disease.

Researchers Offer a Detailed Look at Natural Killer Cells

An NIAID-funded study has revealed a vast diversity of natural killer cells previously unrecognized in the human immune system. Natural killer (NK) cells are important for antiviral and antitumor responses, and these findings may have important implications for the development of new therapies for infection and cancer. Read more about a detailed look at natural killer cells.

 

Content last reviewed on April 1, 2016