A Macrophage is a large cell found within the tissues of your body or roaming around within your white blood cells responsible for reactions to injuries or infections within your body. These macrophages have TLR's also called Toll-like receptors which are proteins. These TLR's are responsible for the Macrophages detection and response to an infection or tissue injury. This allows the macrophages to either promote inflammation of the body part or to allow the process of wound repairing to begin.
These macrophages are incredibly important to your body's immune and repair systems. In the study conducted by Dr. Piccinini, they investigated how the macrophages reacted to two substances. These 2 substances being LPS (bacterial product lipopolysaccharide) and an extracellular matrix component called tenascin-C.When these two substances were put together they would stimulate TLR4, which is a different type of Toll-like receptor, responsible for the activation of the innate immune system.After a gene analysis to see how the macrophages reacted to this stimulated TLR4, the scientists found out that both stimuli (LPS and tenascin-C) activated common signaling pathways. However LPS stimulated macrophages showed bias towards matrix destruction (inflammation) and tenascin-C stimulated macrophages were shown to prefer synthesized matrix components (tissue repair).
So why do we care? Well this study made the Science Magazine because it revealed and showcased how activating the cell receptors of macrophages with different stimuli, can either create an inflammatory response(destructive) or a tissue repair response (constructive response). This being an incredibly important part of your body's defense system.
Sources: http://stke.sciencemag.org/content/9/443/ra86.abstract Authors: Anna M. Piccinini*, Lorena Zuliani-Alvarez, Jenny M. P. Lim, and Kim S. Midwood
Author: Adrian Bozocea
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