New understanding of how cells form tunnels may help in treating wounds, tumors

ScienceDaily | 5/23/2019 | Staff
jacensolo775 (Posted by) Level 3
As they do so, they influence each other, they influence the microscopic environment around them, and they are influenced by that reaction -- all in the quiet pursuit of healing the wound.

But little is known about these environments and how macrophages and fibroblasts assist or inhibit each other when they move through a fibrous and interconnected tissue environment. Researchers at Virginia Tech recently published a study chronicling previously unknown connections and influences between these cells and their environments -- an advancement that may help with development of biomedical devices that respond more effectively to wounds or tumors.

Aspect - Research - Components - Person - Body

"A major aspect of our research is that it just really illustrates how complex all these different components are going on inside a person's body," said Andrew Ford, a Ph.D. student in chemical engineering and first author of the paper.

The insight gained by the team's research could guide the design of biomedical solutions for attacking tumors or treating wounds faster by manipulating the environment of the macrophages and fibroblasts.

Applications - Ideas - Research - Validation - Addition

While applications are already being explored using these ideas, the recently published research provides validation in addition to a closer look at the interactions between the cells and the variables of their environment.

Macrophages and fibroblasts exist in humans' connective tissue, which is found underneath the outer layer of skin. This connective tissue forms a space, the extracellular matrix, which provides structural support for other tissues in the body.

Matrix - Fibroblasts - Proteins - Tissue - Matrices

Within this matrix, the fibroblasts exist to secrete proteins that build up and repair the connective tissue or break apart the matrices to help dissolve proteins and enable movement. Macrophages, however, tend to go on the attack against material that is foreign or appears to be in the wrong place.

When working together, fibroblasts form long, 3D tunnels, which are then used by macrophages to...
(Excerpt) Read more at: ScienceDaily
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