Ever wonder why your friend, co-worker, or partner doesn’t get as sick as you, even though they caught the same “bug” you did?
“Our defense mechanisms against microbial pathogens rely on white blood cells that are specialized to detect infection,” explained co-senior study investigator Veit Hornung, Ph.D., chair of immunobiochemistry at the Ludwig-Maxmilians-Universität in Munich. “Upon encounter of microbes, these cells trigger cellular defense programs via activating and repressing the expression of hundreds of genes.”
The researchers treated […] cells with three components that mimic infection with bacteria or a virus. They then analyzed how cells from different individuals respond to infection by measuring gene expression both during the early and late immune response. Integrating the gene expression profiles with genome-wide genetic data of each individual, they were able to map how genetic variants affect gene expression, and how this genetic effect changes with the immune stimulus.
Findings from this new study provide a highly robust and comprehensive dataset of innate immune responses and show wide variation among individuals exposed to diverse pathogens over multiple time points. The investigators identified population differences in immune response and demonstrated that immune response modifies genetic associations to disease.
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