There is a connection between age and susceptibility to the influenza virus. It can't be explained by frailty in general, because it is not obvious that very small children and the very old are the biggest risk groups. In a study of the connection between age and the risk of suffering from the flu, Timpka and his colleagues show that the 2009 swine flu affected age groups 10-19 and 20-29 the worst. They studied how five different influenza epidemics struck in OstergĂ tland County of East Sweden between 2005 and 2010. Except for the swine flu, they were all what are known as seasonal flu. The difference in those taken sick among age groups varies up to ten times in certain cases, they state, for example, with swine flu. 2.3 cases per thousand inhabitants were diagnosed in the 10-19 age group, compared with 0.
By discovering how vital immune cells known as dendritic cells recognize dead and damaged cells, researchers think they may have found a new approach for next generation vaccines that "trick" cells into launching an immune response. Such vaccines would be more effective and result in fewer side-effects, they suggest. Dendritic cells are unique immune cells that detect dead and damaged cells, digest them, and present them to other immune cells capable of recognizing foreign agents such as bacteria, viruses and parasites. They are part of a family called antigen-presenting cells (APCs). But they are unique because they also send signals to other parts of the immune system, such resting T cells, to wake up and join the immune response. Now for the first time, a large collaboration of immunologists, protein chemists and structural biologists, led by scientists at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute in Parkville, Victoria, Australia, has identified how a protein on the surface of dendritic cells recognizes damage and trauma in cells that could signify infection.
Using its unique online research platform, 23andMe, a leading personal genetics company, has found five significant genetic associations for hypothyroidism in the largest known genome-wide association study of hypothyroidism conducted to date. The details of the study are now available online in the journal PLoS ONE. "With nearly 90 percent of our 125, 000 customers participating in our online research, 23andMe is making crowd-sourced science a reality, " stated 23andMe CEO and co-founder Anne Wojcicki. "Our online research platform continues to advance research faster and more cost effectively than traditional research models, " added Wojcicki. Of the five significant associations reported in this study, three are known to be involved in other autoimmune diseases. These include rs6679677 near PTPN22, rs3184504 in SH2B3, and rs2517532 in the HLA class I region.
Macrophages play an important role in the immune system. They eat and fight against pathogens and foreign substances at the very start of infection. In this condition, macrophages produce reactive oxygen species for sterilization. However, the connection with the temperature sensor was not previously understood. Professor Makoto TOMINAGA from National Institute for Physiological Sciences (Okazaki Institute for Integrative Bioscience), National Institutes of Natural Sciences, and his research team member Ms. Makiko KASHIO have identified the mechanism through which TRPM2 is activated by body temperature with hydrogen peroxide (a kind of reactive oxygen species) produced by immune reactions. This research result was reported (online in the week of 9th April, 2012) by Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.
The discovery of how a vital immune cell recognises dead and damaged body cells could modernise vaccine technology by 'tricking' cells into launching an immune response, leading to next-generation vaccines that are more specific, more effective and have fewer side-effects. Scientists from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute have identified, for the first time, how a protein found on the surface of immune cells called dendritic cells recognises dangerous damage and trauma that could signify infection. Dendritic cells are critical for raising the alarm about the presence of foreign invaders in the body such as viruses, bacteria and parasites as well as tumour cells and other dead or damaged cells. Also known as antigen-presenting cells, they digest and present molecules from damaged cells to other immune cells that recognise foreign invaders and launch an immune response.