Scientists have found a way to manipulate the body's own immune response to enhance tissue repair. The findings published in Current Biology today reveal a new network of protective factors that protect cells from damage. This finding, made by researchers at the University of Bristol, can greatly benefit patients undergoing surgery by speeding up recovery time and reducing the risk of complications.
When a tissue is damaged (accidentally or by surgery), the body rapidly harvests immune cells to the site of injury, where it fights infection by absorbing and killing invading pathogens by releasing toxic factors (such as unstable oxygen-containing molecules) known as "reactive oxygen species" (eg peroxides). However, these bactericidal products are also highly toxic to the host tissue and may interfere with the repair process. To counteract these deleterious effects, the restorative tissue activates powerful protective machines to "protect" from damage.
Now, researchers at the Bristol Biochemical School studying tissue repair have mapped the exact identities of these protective pathways and have figured out how to stimulate this process in naive tissues.
Dr. Helen Wivers of the Bristol Life Sciences Faculty and lead author of the study explains: "In healthy individuals, damaged tissues usually recover quickly after injury. Within a healing wound, a stress response is triggered, which picks up inflammatory cells that in release many bacteriocidal factors, including reactive oxygen species (ROS), to eliminate invading pathogens.
"In this study, we used translucent fruit flies to observe how the wound is recovered. We also discovered a network of protective pathways that protect tissues from inflammatory damage and make tissue repair more stress-resistant, and we also demonstrate that ectopic activation of these pathways
"Now we know their identity and how they are activated, we hope to develop ways to stimulate the tissues. zi defensive machine in patients prior to elective surgery. "
The findings have a clear clinical relevance for patients, as the therapeutic activation of these cytoprotective pathways in the clinic may also offer an exciting approach to the 'preconditioning' of patient tissues before elective surgery."
Dr, Wevers added: " we are discovering even more avenues of "resilience" that help protect our body tissues from stress, both at the sites of injury and in other vulnerable organs that are often exposed to such stressors. As we find that the protective technique is activated by the same pathways that also initiate the inflammatory response, we believe that the machine's resistance has evolved as a failure-protective mechanism for tissue protection at each inflammatory trigger.
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Helen Weavers et al. Injury activates a dynamic cytoprotective network to provide resistance to stress and drive repair, Current Biology (201
University of Bristol
Scientists unveil body's body shield (2019, November 18)
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