POST Online Media Lite Edition


NEWLY REPORTED COVID-19 CASES IN LAST 24 HOURS (9.20.2021, 9:50am CEST, WHO):   U.S. 156,736    India 34,403    Brazil 14,780    United Kingdom 26,326    Russia 19,905    Turkey 28,118    France 7,690    Iran 18,021    Argentina 2,510    Columbia 1,570    Spain 1,682    Italy 5,115    Indonesia 3,835    Germany 11,022    Mexico 13,217    South Africa 4,214    Ukraine 6,624    Philippines 21,261    Peru 1,018    Malaysia 18,815    Netherlands 2,130    Iraq 3,923    Japan 6,020    Canada 4,289    Bangladesh 1,907    Thailand 14,555    Pakistan 3,012    Israel 3,171    Sweden 1,200    Romania 4,478    Portugal 1,062    Kazakhstan 3,317    Morocco 2,642    Serbia 7,602    Jordan 1,116    Nepal 1,086    Cuba 7,628    Austria 2,283    Vietnam 10,489    Greece 2,322    Georgia 2,039    Guatemala 1,107    Belarus 1,967    Costa Rica 2,725    Bulgaria 1,724    Azerbaijan 1,783    Myanmar 2,187    Croatia 1,394    Ireland 1,413    Venezuela 1,064    Libya 1,053    Ethiopia 1,669    Lithuania 1,211    Mongolia 5,239    South Korea 2,008    Slovenia 1,325    Moldova 1,289    Botswana 6,608    Uganda 22,283    New Caledonia 1,112    China 96    Singapore 910    New Zealand 16    Australia 1,885   

Brain-like activity found in human immune system

Staff Writer |
Researchers from Canberra's Australian National University (ANU) have led a discovery of "brain-like" activity in the human immune system, in a breakthrough which could lead to better treatments for autoimmune diseases.

Article continues below

The researchers were, for the first time, able to confirm that immune cells contained neurotransmitters such as dopamine, which were previously thought to only be present in the brain.

According to lead researcher Ilenia Papa from ANU, the breakthrough could lead to better treatments for autoimmune diseases as well as lymphomas and immunodeficiency disorders.

"These (neurotransmitter) particles were previously thought to only exist in neurons in the brain and we think they are, potentially, an excellent target for therapies to speed up or dampen the body's immune response, depending on the disease you're dealing with," Papa said in a statement on Thursday.

The team took into account more than 200 tissue samples from children who had recently had their tonsils taken out, analyzing the transfer of dopamine from "T cells" to "B cells" through a synaptic interaction.

"Like neurons, specialized T cells transfer dopamine to B cells that provides additional 'motivation' for B cells to produce the best antibodies they can to help to clear up an infection," Papa said.

"The human body has developed an advanced form of protection against bacteria, viruses and other foreign bodies that relies on the immune system.

"Immune responses are essential for recognizing and defending humans against substances that appear foreign and harmful to the individual."

Details of the research were published in Nature journal, a Britain-based weekly publication of scientific research.

What to read next

Brain scans give clues to stress-heart attack link
Cancer cells play hide-and-seek with immune system
Another step toward Parkinson's solution