Scientists have discovered an unusual type of immune cells, the main task of which is to get infected with a virus, die and spread information about it among other components of immunity. The researchers’ findings were published in the journal Science Immunology.
The so-called dendritic cells are a kind of first line of defense of the body against unfamiliar bacterial and viral infections. They live on all mucous membranes and on the walls of blood vessels and are the first to come into contact with all pathogens that enter the body from the outside.
According to the researchers, the main mystery of their existence was how these cells do not die or become infected after they “ingest” the viral particles and study their structure in order to transmit critical information about them to T cells to produce antibodies and cause other components of the immune system to respond to the infection.
Virus disease treatment with dendritic stem cells
In the course of the study, scientists conducted an experiment on dendritic cells, infecting them with the HIV-2 virus and the influenza virus. It turned out that dendritic cells can be divided into two subgroups – ordinary dendritic cells and special “kamikaze cells”.
“Kamikazes”, as biologists have discovered, do not resist infection with the virus and contribute to its reproduction within themselves, actively releasing fragments of viral particles into the external environment. After some time, they die and disintegrate, releasing both full-fledged and damaged viruses.
These fragments of viral envelopes and proteins are picked up by type 2 dendritic cells, which analyze them and pass information about them to T cells, which in turn produce antibodies and cause the rest of the immune system to attack HIV or influenza.
As the researchers note, these cells have a special defense system, the RAB15 protein, which prevents the virus from “gluing” itself to their envelope and penetrating inside. A similar substance is absent inside “kamikaze cells”, thanks to which viruses penetrate into them much more often and faster than into other dendritic cells.
The discovery of this system, scientists hope, will help us understand how retroviruses, including the immunodeficiency virus, “deceive” the immune system and spread throughout the body with impunity, and how this can be prevented.
Oncology disease treatment with dendritic cells
Immunotherapy is one of the fastest growing areas of oncology. Further progress in the treatment of cancer is associated with it. Perhaps this direction of medicine will soon allow to cure oncology even at the last stage. One method of immunotherapy is the use of dendritic cells against cancer. New areas of vaccine therapy include dendritic cell vaccines. Their use is promising in many types of cancer, although in most cancers these drugs are used only as part of clinical studies. This type of vaccine is made individually for a specific patient. Dendritic cells are taken from a person, activated, and then injected into the body to stimulate antitumor immunity. Why dendritic cells are needed Dendritic cells are a type of leukocyte whose main function is to present cancer antigens to T cells. Without dendritic cells, T cells do not work because they are unable to recognize antigen. Dendritic cells contribute to the interaction of innate and adaptive immune responses.
They have a unique ability to transport tumor antigen to lymph nodes to trigger T-cell activation. This is an important process necessary for T-cell-dependent immunity to work. When vaccines based on dendritic cells are used. This is an emerging field of oncology, and most anticancer therapies are still undergoing clinical trials. Such therapy increases the life expectancy of cancer patients. Dendritic therapy is used both in monotherapy and in combination with other methods of cancer treatment. They are used mainly in stages of remission. In some diseases, dendritic cell vaccines show good results in combination with other methods of immune therapy.