BREAKING NEWS
Source: Covid-19 Research  Mar 28, 2020  2 years ago
BREAKING NEWS! Covid-19 Research: New Lung Immune Cells Identified That Could Be Targeted In Fight Against The SARS-Cov-2 Coronavirus
BREAKING NEWS! Covid-19 Research: New Lung Immune Cells Identified That Could Be Targeted In Fight Against The SARS-Cov-2 Coronavirus
Source: Covid-19 Research  Mar 28, 2020  2 years ago
Covid-19 Research:  A team of medical researchers from Columbia University Medical Center, New York University Langone Health, Uconn Health and the University of Bordeaux have identified a novel group of immune cells in the lungs that are associated with the control of inflammation during viral infections, like influenza or coronavirus infections. https://immunology.sciencemag.org/content/5/45/eaax8756



 
The latest research findings may help to advance the development of drugs and therapeutics to treat inflammation-related lung conditions manifested during Covid-19 infections. The same protocols could also be used to treat diseases such as bronchitis, influenza and other viral pneumonia conditions.

Typically, macrophages are an important subset of phagocytic immune cells found throughout the body that form part of our body’s first line of defense against invading foreign material and pathogens including bacteria and viruses.
 
The AMs or alveolar macrophages are a well-known inhabitant of the lungs and are responsible for direct clearance of viruses. This new group of immune cells, identified in the lungs of mice and other animal models are a distinct group of macrophages, dubbed NAMs (nerve and airway associated macrophages), that appear instead to moderate inflammation in the lungs during viral infection.
 
As commonly known, inflammation is an important part of the innate immune response to potentially harmful foreign material and includes the production of regulatory molecules, such as cytokines, and recruitment of immune cells to the affected locations. If inflammation goes unchecked, however, it can be damaging to the body and therefore requires tight regulation.

The medical researchers studied the location and role of these novel immune cells.
 
Dr Kamal M. Khanna, a Professor at  the department of Microbiology, New York University Langone Health and also Senior Professor at Perlmutter Cancer Center, NYU and  corresponding author of the research told Thailand Medical News,  “Emerging evidence suggests that tissue-resident macrophages play critical roles in maintaining immune and tissue homeostasis in mucosal organs under inflammatory conditions, such as during infections. Although studies primarily using bone marrow-derived macrophages have been very informative about the function of macrophages in response to specific stimuli in vitro, these roles remain to be elucidated among tissue-resident macrophage subsets in the context of infection in the local tissue environment in vivo. This was one of the main goals of our study.”

The researchers utilizing live cell imaging in live animal models, found that NAMs cluster primarily around the sympathetic pulmonary nerves and airways.
 
Using animal models that were unable to produce either AMs or NAMs, they were able to demonstrate that NAMs were embryonically derived, self-renewing, and altogether developmentally distinct from AMs. Unlike AMs, the development of NAMs requires colony-stimulating factor 1 (CSF1) but not granulocyte-macrophage CSF (GM-CSF) on which AM development and maturation is highly dependent.

Further population and single cell transcriptome analysis reveal ed that NAMs were distinct from other macrophage groups resident in the lungs at the transcriptional level too.
 
The detailed analysis also indicated that NAMs highly transcribed immunoregulatory genes under steady-state and inflammatory conditions.
 
Professor Khanna further added, “I think what excites us most about our discovery is the fact that we have identified a unique subset of the macrophage population (a critical cell type of the innate immune system) that we know very little about. Our results provide essential insights into the development and maintenance, and functions of a poorly understood subset of resident macrophages in the lung”

During the further stages of the research, animal models were experimentally infected with influenza virus to examine the role of NAMs during infection. This revealed that NAMs proliferated robustly following infection in the wild-type mice. However, in those unable to produce NAMs, infection induced an overzealous immune response with excessive production of inflammatory cytokines and immune cell infiltration into tissues.
 
Professor Khanna commented, “We find that, at least with influenza, AMs help clear the infection, while NAMs help regulate and suppress infection-induced inflammation”.
 
The revelations of this transcriptionally and developmentally distinct subset of airway-associated macrophages are therefore important in maintaining immune and tissue homeostasis, information that provides insights for future therapeutic developments, including those against Covid-19.

Professor Khanna concluded, “As we come to understand more about how NAMs regulate infection-induced inflammation we can target these macrophages to help resolve damaging inflammation caused by respiratory viral infections such as Covid-19. Future studies will examine how to augment their function or induce their proliferation to increase their numbers at the right time during viral infections”.
 
For more on the latest developments in Covid-19 research, keep on logging to Thailand Medical News

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