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Discovery of the organism's secret weapon against cytomegalovirus

2021-06-18T04:56:07.875Z

On the surface they look like healthy cells and thus hide from the immune system. Instead they are infected with a virus that can trigger severe infections in immunosuppressed patients. (HANDLE)



(ANSA) - ROME, June 15 - On the surface they look like healthy cells and therefore hide from the immune system.

Instead they are infected with a virus that can trigger severe infections in immunosuppressed patients.

It is the cytomegalovirus, a widespread pathogen against which, however, the organism has an effective weapon: a particular population of killer T lymphocyte cells.

With special 'sensors', in fact, they intercept the infected cells and kill them.


    The mechanism was discovered by researchers from the Bambino Gesù Pediatric Hospital together with the University of Genoa and Melbourne. The results of the study open new perspectives of care for patients with poor immune defenses, with severe viral infections (including Covid-19) and even with cancer. The research, supported by Airc, was published in the scientific journal Science Immunology. Cytomegalovirus in Italy infects about 90% of adults. Once contracted, it remains latent in the body for life: a good immune system keeps it under control, but in people who are immunosuppressed (undergoing chemotherapy, suffering from HIV or who have received immunosuppressive drugs for an organ or marrow transplant ), the virus can reactivate causing serious infections and possible lung damage,liver, esophagus, stomach, intestines, eyes and central nervous system. A protein structure of the cytomegalovirus, almost identical to that of the body's cells, hides it from the weapons of the immune system. In particular, it removes it from the action of 'normal' T lymphocytes, programmed to intercept and strike only what is recognized as foreign. However, research has shown that the disguise of this virus does not escape the sensors of killer T lymphocytes, whose particular population in addition to having the Tcr sensor that recognizes foreign proteins and is present on all T lymphocytes, is also equipped with other receptors able to intercept cells infected with cytomegalovirus and eliminate them, thus blocking the infection.A protein structure of the cytomegalovirus, almost identical to that of the body's cells, hides it from the weapons of the immune system. In particular, it removes it from the action of 'normal' T lymphocytes, programmed to intercept and strike only what is recognized as foreign. However, research has shown that the disguise of this virus does not escape the sensors of killer T lymphocytes, whose particular population in addition to having the Tcr sensor that recognizes foreign proteins and is present on all T lymphocytes, is also equipped with other receptors able to intercept cells infected with cytomegalovirus and eliminate them, thus blocking the infection.A protein structure of the cytomegalovirus, almost identical to that of the body's cells, hides it from the weapons of the immune system. In particular, it removes it from the action of 'normal' T lymphocytes, programmed to intercept and strike only what is recognized as foreign. However, research has shown that the disguise of this virus does not escape the sensors of killer T lymphocytes, whose particular population in addition to having the Tcr sensor that recognizes foreign proteins and is present on all T lymphocytes, is also equipped with other receptors able to intercept cells infected with cytomegalovirus and eliminate them, thus blocking the infection.action of 'normal' T lymphocytes, programmed to intercept and target only what is recognized as foreign. However, research has shown that the disguise of this virus does not escape the sensors of killer T lymphocytes, whose particular population in addition to having the Tcr sensor that recognizes foreign proteins and is present on all T lymphocytes, is also equipped with other receptors able to intercept cells infected with cytomegalovirus and eliminate them, thus blocking the infection.action of 'normal' T lymphocytes, programmed to intercept and target only what is recognized as foreign. However, research has shown that the disguise of this virus does not escape the sensors of killer T lymphocytes, whose particular population in addition to having the Tcr sensor that recognizes foreign proteins and is present on all T lymphocytes, is also equipped with other receptors able to intercept cells infected with cytomegalovirus and eliminate them, thus blocking the infection.whose particular population in addition to having the Tcr sensor that recognizes foreign proteins and is present on all T lymphocytes, is also equipped with other receptors capable of intercepting cells infected with cytomegalovirus and eliminating them, thus blocking the infection.whose particular population in addition to having the Tcr sensor that recognizes foreign proteins and is present on all T lymphocytes, is also equipped with other receptors capable of intercepting cells infected with cytomegalovirus and eliminating them, thus blocking the infection.


    This discovery "may pave the way for new therapeutic strategies" also "in patients with serious viral infections, including Covid-19, or with cancer", explains Lorenzo Moretta, head of the Child Jesus Immunology Research Area. (ANSA) .


Source: ansa

All life articles on 2021-06-18

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