Tracking Immune Cells In The Blood Of Mice With A Disease

The study showing that the immune cells may reduce the friendly fire that drives autoimmune disease; Stimulating these protective cells could lead to new therapies for diseases in which the immune system attacks the body’s own tissues; such as multiple sclerosis and celiac disease. By tracking immune cells in the blood of mice with a disease akin to multiple sclerosis.

The study discovering a rise in CD8 T cells, typically knowing for killing infecting or cancerous cells. To their surprise; injecting mice with peptides recognizing by these CD8 T cells reduced disease severity and killed disease causing immune cells. While the bulk of the study was done in mice; the researchers also showed that one of their central findings an increase in CD8 T cells derived from single cells held true in cells from people with multiple sclerosis.

The findings suggest that inflammatory and suppressive immune cells balance each other like children on a seesaw. Selectively activating suppressive CD8 T cells during autoimmune disease may help restore that balance. The study absolutely think that something like this is happening in human autoimmune diseases. It represents a mechanism that nobody’s really appreciating.

Immune cells in the blood

Multiple sclerosis is no exception. But scientists can trigger a similar disease in mice by injecting them with a small chunk, or peptide, of a protein called myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein, or MOG. Mice with the disease, known as experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, develop paralysis just like patients with multiple sclerosis.

The researchers used this mouse model of the disease to investigate what different immune cells were doing during autoimmunity. They tracked the abundance of various classes of immune cells in mice injected with MOG. They found that the number of T cells, which act like generals in directing the overall scale and strategy behind an immune response, rose and fell like waves.

Part of the pathogen

DNA sequencing showed that those waves were each made of groups of identical cells an important clue. When T cells encounter a pathogen, or antigen, single cells that recognize some part of the pathogen divide and produce many copies of themselves. But while MOG causing some T cells to proliferate, there was a group of CD8 T cells that didn’t respond to any of the peptides.

The study finding that these peptide-activated CD8 T cells killed disease causing T cells; by punching holes in their cell membrane when grown together in a dish. The CD8 T cells were also coating with surface proteins; associating with immunosuppression yet another clue that these cells were in fact suppressor CD8 T cells.