The Immune Booster in Your Spice Cabinet

Your immune system is very complex. It has a set of pathways that allow your body to respond to foreign invaders such as bacteria, viruses, and other infectious agents, as well as foreign material such as pollen. It’s an amazingly powerful alternative cure for disease. Your immune system consists of a bunch of different types of cells, each of which have a specific task assigned to them in the defense of your body.

Basically, your immune system is divided into two main parts: “humoral immunity” and “cell-mediated immunity.” So what’s the difference? Humoral immunity deals with infectious agents in your blood and body tissues. Cell- mediated immunity, on the other hand, deals with body cells that have been infected. In general, the humoral system is managed by B-cells (with help from T-cells), and the cell-mediated system is managed by T-cells. Together, these two systems can help protect you Continue reading

Newly Discovered B Cells Suggest Why Women Suffer More Autoimmune Disease

Researchers at National Jewish Health have discovered a type of cell that may contribute to autoimmune disease. The findings also suggest why diseases such as lupus, multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis strike women more frequently than men.

The cells, a subset of immune-system B cells, make auto antibodies, which bind to and attack the body’s own tissue. The researchers report in the August 4, 2011, issue of the journal Blood, that they found higher levels of these cells in elderly female mice, young and old mice prone to autoimmune disease, and humans with autoimmune diseases. National Jewish Health has applied for a patent for a method to treat autoimmune disease by depleting these cells.

“We believe these cells could be useful in the diagnosis  Continue reading

Specialized Regulatory T Cell Stifles Antibody Production Centers

Discovery has potential implications for cancer, autoimmune disease

A regulatory T cell that expresses three specific genes shuts down the mass production of antibodies launched by the immune system to attack invaders, a team led by scientists at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center reported online in the journal Nature Medicine.

“Regulatory T cells prevent unwanted or exaggerated immune system responses, but the mechanism by which they accomplish this has been unclear,” said paper senior author Chen Dong, Ph.D., professor in MD Anderson’s Department of Immunology and director of the Center for Inflammation and Cancer.

“We’ve identified a molecular pathway that creates a specialized regulatory T cell, which suppresses the reaction of structures called germinal centers. This is where immune system T cells and B cells interact to swiftly produce large quantities of antibodies,” Dong said. Continue reading