Immune T cells have a series of reactivity. This discovery may help us understand the immune system's response to infections and cancer, as well as problems that arise in immune diseases. Researchers from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Open Targets, Biogen, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and their collaborators found that the more "trained" T cells are, the more different the response to immune signals Instead of simply going from childish to mature. This will help guide research to find drug targets for the treatment of immune diseases such as asthma and rheumatoid arthritis.
Recent research published in the journal Nature Communications also shows that even trained memory T cells are not as strict as previously thought, and they can respond to new immune signals. This has certain implications for immune research, such as helping to understand how the body responds to infections.
Image source: Nature Communications
T cells are the key white blood cells to fight infections and diseases. It directs the immune system's response like a policeman. When a baby is born, inexperienced T cells change with contact with bacteria or viruses, creating specific memory T cells that can "remember" to fight these infections. These memory T cells can respond more quickly the next time they encounter the same threat, telling the immune system to quickly clear the infection. This is how vaccines prevent diseases by delivering a safe form of invading viruses or bacteria-by building specific memory T cells to train our immune system.
Problems with T cells can lead to immunodeficiency and make people vulnerable to serious infections. In addition, in autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and type 1 diabetes, the body may mistake some of its own cells as a threat and initiate an inappropriate immune response, causing the body to attack itself.
To better understand how memory T cells form and respond during disease, the researchers extracted blood from healthy volunteers and analyzed their T cells. They accurately determined which genes in each T cell were activated, which indicated what the cell was doing. They also tested these T cells with different immune molecules, cytokines, to mimic their behavior in the body.
The researchers found that the development of T cells seems to be a complete continuum, rather than a simple transition from naive cells to memory cells. They found that the more frequently a T cell is activated by a signal, the more "trained" it is during memory T cell development and the faster it responds to specific signals.
The first author of this paper, Eddie Cano Gamez from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and Open Targets, said: "In the past, people thought that memory T cells have two stages of development, but we found that memory experience has a complete lineage. From naive T cells that have never been activated, to highly responsive, highly trained memory T cells, and many intermediate T cells in between. This spectrum not only affects the speed of the cell ’s response, it even affects what signal it responds react."
Studies have shown that T cells also respond continuously to other chemical signals, indicating that they are not as specific as previously thought. They found that even trained memory T cells may be triggered by other new immune signals.
The researchers found that some signals produced very different responses in memory cells, depending on their level of experience. When a specific chemical signal (transforming growth factor) is added to naive T cells, their response is to produce regulatory T cells, calming the immune system. However, the same chemicals have the opposite effect on experienced memory cells, triggering them to release more chemicals, leading to inflammation.
Image source: Nature Communications
The collaboration between the researchers of the Sanger Institute, GSK, Biogen and Open target partners will promote the translation of these research results into new treatments.
Dr. Gosia Trynka, a senior author from the Sanger Institute and Open target, said: "We were surprised to find that memory T cell responses are so flexible and complex. Understanding this different T cell response can help us understand our response to infections (such as Virus) can also provide clues to errors in immune diseases such as asthma and type 1 diabetes. By understanding the pathway of normal immune response, our goal is to find better drug targets to develop new drugs. "