Chaos in bodily regulation can optimize our immune system according to a recent discovery made by researchers at the University of Copenhagen’s Niels Bohr Institute. The discovery may prove to be of great significance for avoiding serious diseases such as cancer and diabetes.
de gaps exist in our understanding of how the immune system works and how we might avoid diseases such as cancer and diabetes. Now, two researchers at the University of Copenhagen’s Niels Bohr Institute have made a discovery that could prove to be an important piece of the puzzle. PhD Mathias Heltberg and Professor Mogens Høgh Jensen have found an entirely new mechanism in the way that bodily cells regulate themselves – through chaos.
The researchers investigated how a particular protein produced within cells, NF-kB, stimulates genes. Among other things, this particular protein is vital for maintaining the body’s immune defense system and thereby, the body’s ability to combat disease. The concentration of NF-kB fluctuates over time, and these swings impact the genes and subsequently, the condition of cells.
The researchers demonstrated that chaotic swings in the concentration of the protein – what in mathematics is known as chaotic dynamics – can increase the activation of a number of genes that are otherwise not activated. In other words, when in a chaotic state, the NF-kB protein is most effective at activating genes and optimally “tuning” the immune system.
“The results can have a tremendous impact on our understanding of how the immune system functions and how the incidence of some of the most serious illnesses, including diabetes, cancer and Alzheimer’s, might be avoided. For example, we know that cancer is related to a failure of signaling within the body. So, to avoid cancer, it is imperative to have the right dynamic at work in cells,” says Mogens Høgh Jensen, a professor in biocomplexity at the University of Copenhagen’s Niels Bohr Institute.
Improved knowledge can improve cancer treatment
The researchers point out that this new knowledge can be deployed in future therapies.
“These could come in the form of new medications that ensure proper protein function. Therapies could also involve the withdrawal and testing of cells from a body to gauge whether cells are in the right condition to have the correct swings. If they aren’t, it may be possible to predict and discover illnesses before they occur,” explains Mathias Heltberg, a PhD student in Biocomplexity.
The research results are among the first to prove that chaos can be an important aspect of the mechanisms that steer the enormous complexity characteristic of all living things. Even the researchers were surprised by their discovery, as chaotic dynamics is often seen as something that living organisms seek to avoid. The new knowledge opens up an entirely new understanding of how genes can be regulated through varied swings in the proteins that control them.
“Chaos is a mathematically well-defined dynamic, one that, for example, has previously been used to explain great changes in weather systems. With the enormous complexity that characterizes higher order living things, it is evident that chaotic dynamics will occur in different types of systems. But how chaos plays a decisive role in living cells is entirely new,” concludes Mogens Høgh Jensen.
Based upon a range of experimental results, the researchers arrived at their conclusions through mathematical calculations and theoretical arguments.
Learn more: Chaos in the body tunes up your immune system
The Latest on: Immune system
via Google News
The Latest on: Immune system
- Am I Immune to the Coronavirus if I’ve Already Had It?on October 8, 2020 at 8:06 am
You have some immunity to the coronavirus if you've already had it, but how much and for how long are big unanswered questions.
- Blocking immune system pathway may stop COVID-19 infection, prevent severe organ damageon October 8, 2020 at 8:03 am
While the world waits eagerly for a safe and effective vaccine to prevent infections from severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus behind the COVID-19 pandemic, ...
- Severe COVID-19 infection linked to overactive immune cellson October 8, 2020 at 7:45 am
Samples from the lungs of patients show a runaway immune system reaction could be one mechanism behind severe COVID-19 cases.
- Imaging the secret lives of immune cells in the eyeon October 8, 2020 at 6:43 am
University of Rochester vision scientist Jesse Schallek can barely contain his excitement as he shares time-lapse videos showing immune cells moving through living retinal tissue at the back of an eye ...
- SmartyPants Meets the Moment with New Healthy Immunity Formulas for Multifunctional Immune Supporton October 8, 2020 at 6:15 am
In the past six months, thousands of families and individuals concerned about their health have turned to SmartyPants Vitamins for help.
- Training our immune systems: Why we should insist on a high-quality COVID-19 vaccineon October 8, 2020 at 5:55 am
Athletes understand that there are two very different approaches that can be taken when training their bodies. For example, lifting heavy weights is a great way to achieve maximum strength. In ...
- Designing a universal flu vaccine by refocusing the immune systemon October 7, 2020 at 8:00 am
A group of researchers led by MIT and Bristol Myers Squibb has shed light on a possible strategy for developing a universal flu vaccine by targeting a more stable region of the influenza virus that’s ...
- Is Lockdown Hurting Your Immune System?on October 6, 2020 at 8:04 am
Did all that time you spent social distancing, staying indoors, and avoiding people during lockdown actually weaken your immune system? The post Is Lockdown Hurting Your Immune System? appeared first ...
- Older people like President Trump are at more risk from COVID-19 because of how the immune system ageson October 3, 2020 at 6:38 am
President Donald Trump’s announcement that he’s tested positive for COVID-19 is especially concerning because of his age. At 74 years old, Trump is solidly within an age group that’s been hit hard ...
- These Expert-Approved Tips Will Help You Fight Colds and COVID-19 and Boost Your Immune Systemon October 2, 2020 at 3:20 pm
Strengthening your immune system during the COVID-19 pandemic and flu season by sleeping, exercising, reducing stress, and eating nutritious foods.
via Bing News