Macrophages exist in most tissue, and is produced when white blood cells leave blood and then differentiate in a tissue-specific manner. They release a substance that activates other cells of a person’s immune system. Macrophages play a crucial role in regulating immune and wound healing. They can also respond to certain signals, and change their physiology in response to local cells.
Immune Regulatory Macrophages
Immune regulatory macrophages may hold the key to the development of treatments for autoimmune disease like rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis. New research has been focusing on the programming of macrophages. Regulatory macrophages produces high levels of cytokine. This can suppress a person’s immune response. Even though this seams non-productive, in later stages of immunity this becomes important because it can limit inflammation. Researchers are focusing on ways to reprogram macrophages to assume a regulatory phenotype and prevent autoimmunity.
Skin Wound Healing Macrophages
Skin healing is done in many stages that require the activity of several cell types. Macrophages is at the center of this process. They migrate and settle in the wound at the earliest stage. Macrophages also seem to organize the activity of other cell types at the next stages of healing. Researcher believe this knowledge can open the door for therapeutic intervention of skin wounds.
Macrophages Protection Against the Effects of Obesity
Researchers have found that when a person becomes obese from overeating food, cells located in the fat tissue fill up with dieting fats and start to die off. Macrophages move out of the blood stream and into the tissue when they then accumulate around the dying cells. When Macrophages are exposed to large amounts of dieting fat it can have negative consequences. Exposure to the saturated fat can cause the macrophages to go into an inflammatory state. When this happens, it will secrete cytokines, which are small proteins produced by the immune cells that are released by cells that have a certain influence on cell behavior. They may begin to develop into heart disease, diabetes, and may become resistant to insulin. Scientist have found that if they enhanced the capacity of macrophages to store dietary fats it could positively transform this process, and help protect individuals from developing the serious consequences that can sometimes be accompanied by being obese. This study is being done by a research team at Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease.
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