Revving up the engine: Immunity on Standby

When pathogens invade the body, the immune system must react immediately to prevent or contain an infection. But how do our defense cells stay ready when no attacker is in sight? A team of research groups in Vienna, the lab of Perutz group leader Thomas Decker and scientists from the Research Center of Molecular Medicine (CeMM), the Medical University of Vienna, and the Veterinary Medical University of Vienna, have found a surprising explanation: immune cells are constantly stimulated by healthy tissue, which primes them to mount a rapid response in the event of infection. The work implies that maintaining a basal level of vigilance is crucial to an effective immune response. Medications that selectively enhance our immune system’s vigilance could therefore be valuable in the future. The study has been published in the journal Nature Immunology.

Read more here.