Simulated ‘cellular suicide’ could help control chronic inflammation

| September 19, 2017

Inflammation, in particular, is vital to fighting infection or healing wounds. If it lingers, however, it can cause more harm than good. Chronic inflammation often impedes the very healing that it is meant to promote. […] A team led by Mitsuhiro Ebara at the National Institute for Materials Science in Japan have come up with a new approach. They have worked out how to persuade cells in inflamed tissues to believe that other cells nearby have just committed suicide.

Graceful death, known as apoptosis, is a sort of pre-planned cellular suicide. It happens naturally throughout life and is vital for many developmental events (like the separation of fingers before birth). Unlike necrosis, the leftovers of apoptosis are mostly tolerated by the immune system. […] Collecting cellular fragments coated in phosphatidylserine and introducing them to areas of inflammation can dramatically improve healing by persuading the immune system to stand down.

It is a long way from the lab to the medicine cupboard. But a better way to damp down chronic inflammation would be welcome. Some of its consequences, like hay fever, are merely annoying. But it can also constrict the arteries, cause arthritis and even raise the odds of contracting forms of cancer.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: Faking cellular suicide could help control inflammation

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