More MS news articles for Sep 2001

Reserve army of T-Cells could just be loose cannon

Immunologists study T-cells behaviour

17 September 2001

Immunologists have discovered that the body has cohorts of naïve T-cells
which are not attuned to any particular virus, but which the immune system can nevertheless activate in the absence of pathogens.

They may play an important role in helping the body's normal immunity to disease but could cause it to overreact as happens in autoimmune diseases.

T-cells are a type of white blood cell which are the immune system's front line defence. When they sense the specific virus to which they are attuned they multiply and attack the invader.

This new research suggests that the naïve T-cells may serve to prime T-cells to mount more effective immune responses. This is fine for most people but for those predisposed to autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, where the body turns on itself, this could trigger a chronic immune response that is harmful. .