A scanning electron microscope image of a single neutrophil (yellow), engulfing anthrax bacteria (orange).
The immune system is a system of biological structures and processes within an organism that protects against disease. To function properly, an immune system must detect a wide variety of agents, from viruses to parasitic worms, and distinguish them from the organism’s own healthy tissue.
Pathogens can rapidly evolve and adapt to avoid detection and neutralization by the immune system. As a result, multiple defense mechanisms have also evolved to recognize and neutralize pathogens. Even simple unicellular organisms such as bacteria possess a rudimentary immune system, in the form of enzymes that protect against bacteriophage infections. Other basic immune mechanisms evolved in ancient eukaryotes and remain in their modern descendants, such as plants and insects. These mechanisms include phagocytosis, antimicrobial peptides called defensins, and the complement system. Jawed vertebrates, including humans, have even more sophisticated defense mechanisms, including the ability to adapt over time to recognize specific pathogens more efficiently. Adaptive (or acquired) immunity creates immunological memory after an initial response to a specific pathogen, leading to an enhanced response to subsequent encounters with that same pathogen. This process of acquired immunity is the basis of vaccination.
Disorders of the immune system can result in autoimmune diseases, inflammatory diseases and cancer. Immunodeficiency occurs when the immune system is less active than normal, resulting in recurring and life-threatening infections. In humans, immunodeficiency can either be the result of a genetic disease such as severe combined immunodeficiency, acquired conditions such as HIV/AIDS, or the use of immunosuppressive medication. In contrast, autoimmunity results from a hyperactive immune system attacking normal tissues as if they were foreign organisms. Common autoimmune diseases include Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes mellitus type 1, and systemic lupus erythematosus. Immunology covers the study of all aspects of the immune system.
Enteral nutrition in critical care.
Seron-Arbeloa C, Zamora-Elson M, Labarta-Monzon L, Mallor-Bonet T.
Intensive Care Unit, San Jorge Hospital, Avda. Martinez de Velasco 35. 22004 Huesca, Spain.
There is a consensus that nutritional support, which must be provided to patients in intensive care, influences their clinical outcome. Malnutrition is associated in critically ill patients with impaired immune function and impaired ventilator drive, leading to prolonged ventilator dependence and increased infectious morbidity and mortality. Enteral nutrition is an active therapy that attenuates the metabolic response of the organism to stress and favorably modulates the immune system. It is less expensive than parenteral nutrition and is preferred in most cases because of less severe complications and better patient outcomes, including infections, and hospital cost and length of stay. The aim of this work was to perform a review of the use of enteral nutrition in critically ill patients.
PMID: 23390469 [PubMed]
Pflugers Arch. 1986 Jul;407(1):18-26.
Kinetics of sodium current and gating current in the frog node of Ranvier.
Meves H, Rubly N.
The experiments were done on voltage-clamped nodes of Ranvier of the frog. The aim was to study the kinetics of sodium current INa and gating current Igat over a large potential range (-92 to -12 mV) and to compare the time constants for the turning-on of INa or Igat with those for the turning-off measured at the same potential. Sodium tail currents were recorded at different postpulse potentials. Inactivation was inhibited by a few min treatment with 0.5 mM chloramine-T (Wang 1984). The sodium permeability was activated by a 0.4 ms pulse from holding potential (-92 mV) to about 0 mV. At the peak of INa the membrane was repolarized to postpulse potentials between -92 and -12 mV. At E greater than -60 mV the tail currents decayed with two time constants, tau 1 and tau 2, reflecting presumably the turning-off and the inactivation of the sodium permeability. The relation between tau 1 and postpulse potential was bellshaped with a maximum at -32 mV. The tail currents could also be fitted by the Hodgkin-Huxley equation with the sodium activation variable m raised to the second or third power. At E less than -50 mV tau m off was equal to 2 tau 1 or 3 tau 1, respectively, whereas at E greater than -25 mV tau m off was equal to tau 1. In addition, the time constant of the turning-on of sodium activation m (tau m on) was determined, assuming INa approximately m2 (with a small initial delay) or INa approximately m3 (without an initial delay). At -22 mV and -12 mV the ratio tau m off/tau m on was close to 1.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
PMID: 3488538 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]
Keck School Scientists Design Mouse with More Human-Like Immune Response
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Scripps Research Institute Scientists Find a Key Element of Lupus, Suggesting Better Drug Targets
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A*STAR Scientists Solve Century-Old Mystery by Finding Stable Haploid Strains of Candida albicans—a Major Cause of Hospital Acquired Infection
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UNC Study May Lead to Treatments that Are Effective Against All MRSA Strains
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Discovery of Sexual Mating in Fungi that Causes 400,000 Deaths per Year Could Provide Insights on How to Prevent and Treat Infections
January 30, 2013—University of Minnesota
Tuberculosis May Lurk in Bone Marrow Stem Cells of Infected Patients, Researchers Say
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TB Hides in Bone Marrow Stem Cells
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Tenofovir Gel Wins Out in Drug Absorption Study, but HIV Prevention Trials Tell a Different Story
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UNC Scientists Unveil a Superbug’s Secret to Antibiotic Resistance
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Itching for New Help for Eczema: Recently Identified Immune Cells Possible Therapeutic Target
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Georgia State Researcher Gets $3.4 Million Grant To Develop Vaccine Technology Against Flu, RSV
January 30, 2013—Georgia State University
Daily Antiseptic Baths Slash Risk of Bloodstream Infections in Critically Ill Children
January 25, 2013—Johns Hopkins Children’s Center
Immune Cell Suicide Alarm Helps Destroy Escaping Bacteria
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Pitt Team Finds ‘Achilles Heel’ of Key HIV Replication Protein
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How the Dengue Virus Makes a Home in the City
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Researchers Show How Cells’ DNA Repair Machinery Can Destroy Viruses
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Bacteria Discovery Aids Stem Cell Research
January 18, 2013—University of Edinburgh
Fighting Sleep: UGA Discovery May Lead to New Treatments for Deadly Sleeping Sickness
January 17, 2013—University of Georgia
Mount Sinai Researchers Discover How the Flu Tells Time
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Study: Antiretroviral Therapy for HIV-1 in First Four Months Is Crucial
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Complex Communication: Immunology Research Sheds New Light on Cell Function, Response
January 16, 2013—Kansas State University
Attacking HIV’s Final Defenses Before Drug-Resistant Mutations Emerge
January 16, 2013—University of Missouri
Recent Study Suggests Bats are Reservoir for Ebola Virus in Bangladesh
January 16, 2013—EcoHealth Alliance
Trapping Malaria Parasites Inside Host Blood Cell Forms Basis for New Class of Drugs, Penn Study Finds
January 15, 2013—Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania
Designer Bacteria May Lead to Better Vaccines
January 15, 2013—The University of Texas at Austin
Generic HIV Treatment Strategy Could Save Nearly $1 Billion Annually but May Be Less Effective
January 14, 2013—Weill Cornell Medical College
New Insights into HIV Vaccine Protection Will Improve Drug Development
January 11, 2013—Duke
Virus Caught in the Act of Infecting a Cell
January 11, 2013—The University of Texas at Austin
Haiti Can Quell Cholera Without Vaccinating Most People, UF Researchers Estimate
January 10, 2013—University of Florida
Scientists, Including Team at J. Craig Venter Institute, Sequence and Publish More than 10,000 Influenza Genomes as Part of NIAID’s Influenza Virus Genome Sequencing Project
January 10, 2013—J. Craig Venter Institute
Multiple Sclerosis Study Reveals How Killer T Cells Learn to Recognize Nerve Fiber Insulators
January 10, 2013—University of Washington
Drug Resistance: ‘Baby Steps’ Can Pay Off Big
January 9, 2013—Rice University
Measuring Genomic Response to Infection Leads to Earlier, Accurate Diagnoses
January 9, 2013—Duke
Modified Antibodies Trigger Immune Response, Point to Novel Vaccine Design Strategies
January 7, 2013—Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research
New Compound Overcomes Drug-Resistant Staph Infection in Mice
January 7, 2013—University of Illinois
Pitt Enzyme Discovery May Lead to Better Tests for Tuberculosis
January 7, 2013—University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health
The Other Side of the Story
January 2, 2013—Harvard Medical School
Children’s Hospital/Pitt-Led Team Finds Molecule That Polices TB Lung Infection, Could Lead to Effective Vaccine
January 2, 2013—University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
Invion Announces Initiation of Phase II Asthma Study
January 2, 2013—Invion Limited
Penn Team Developing New Class of Malaria Drugs Using Essential Calcium Enzyme
December 26, 2012—Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania
Penn Team Mimicking a Natural Defense Against Malaria to Develop New Treatments
December 26, 2012—Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania
New Technique Catalogs Lymphoma-Linked Genetic Variations
December 26, 2012—Johns Hopkins Medicine
Sarepta Therapeutics Enters Into Clinical Trial Agreement With the National Institutes of Health for Further Development of Influenza Drug
December 21, 2012—Sarepta Therapeutics, Inc.
First Ever “Atlas” of T Cells in Human Body
December 20, 2012—Columbia University Medical Center
CWRU, AstraZeneca Partner for New Tuberculosis Drug Trial in South Africa
December 20, 2012—Case Western Reserve University
UNC Researchers Discover How Hepatitis C Virus Reprograms Human Liver Cells
December 18, 2012—University of North Carolina
Method to Make One-Way Flu Vaccine Discovered by Georgia State University Researcher
December 18, 2012—Georgia State University
University of Maryland School of Medicine to Study Drug-Resistant Malaria in Newly Open Nation of Myanmar/Burma
December 17, 2012—University of Maryland School of Medicine
Ebola Virus Uses Protein Decoy to Subvert the Host Immune Response
December 14, 2012—Emory University
A Drug Used to Treat HIV Might Defuse Deadly Staph Infections
December 14, 2012—NYU School of Medicine
Dark Ages Scourge Enlightens Modern Struggle Between Man and Microbes
December 13, 2012—University of Washington
Intestinal Immune Cells Play an Unexpected Role in Immune Surveillance of the Bloodstream
December 13, 2012—Massachusetts General Hospital
UGA Researchers Find Algal Ancestor is Key to How Deadly Pathogens Proliferate
December 12, 2012—University of Georgia
How Hepatitis C Virus Harms the Liver
December 12, 2012—University of Southern California
Isotechnika Pharma’s NICAM Compounds Demonstrate Positive Anti-Hepatitis C Virus Activity in Secondary Level Testing at NIH-Funded Labs
December 6, 2012—Isotechnika Pharma Inc.
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The future for computational modelling and prediction systems in clinical immunology.
Petrovsky N, Silva D, Brusic V.
Medical Informatics Centre, University of Canberra, Bruce ACT 2601, Australia.
Advances in computational science, despite their enormous potential, have been surprisingly slow to impact on clinical practice. This paper examines the potential of bioinformatics to advance clinical immunology across a number of key examples including the use of computational immunology to improve renal transplantation outcomes, identify novel genes involved in immunological disorders, decipher the relationship between antigen presentation pathways and human disease, and predict allergenicity. These examples demonstrate the enormous potential for immunoinformatics to advance clinical and experimental immunology. The acceptance of immunoinformatic techniques by clinical and research immunologists will need robust standards of data quality, system integrity and properly validated immunoinformatic systems. Such validation, at a minimum, will require appropriately designed clinical studies conducted according to Good Clinical Practice standards. This strategy will enable immunoinformatics to achieve its full potential to advance and shape clinical immunology in the future.
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