Macrophage biology

International research group

Hidden immunopathologies play important roles in the development of such life threatening diseases as atherosclerosis, including its consequences (heart attack and stroke), cancer and dementia. Currently there are no drugs available that are capable of normalizing functionality of the immune system. It is obvious that in the case of hidden immunopathology typical for atherosclerosis effective stimulation of immune system will significantly increase the efficacy of traditional therapy and prevention. Several cellular components are responsible for the regulation of the activity of immune system. The key regulatory role in this process is played by monocytes and macrophages (Gordon and Taylor 2005; Burke and Lewis 2002). Being distributed in all tissues and organs of the human body macrophages control its condition and guarantee timely and effective reaction to damage, pathogen intrusion or transformed cell appearance. After effective inflammatory reaction and removal of the danger macrophages initiate healing processes and restore tissue homeostasis (Gratchev et al., 2006). Thus malfunction of macrophages underlines most immune disorders (Hansson 2005; Bingle et al., 2002). In spite of rapid development of biomedical technologies up to date there is no reliable test system for the complex analysis of the activity of various cellular components of human immunity. It is highly important to develop an universal, reliable and affordable system for the assessment of the condition of human immune system on the basis of primary human monocyte derived macrophages. 

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Whenever the organism enjoys immunity, the introduction of infectious microbes is followed by the accumulation of mobile cells, of white corpuscles of the blood in particular which absorb the microbes and destroy them. The white corpuscles and the other cells capable of doing this have been designated "phagocytes", i.e. devouring cells, and the whole function that ensures immunity has been given the name of "phagocytosis"

Ilya Mechnikov, Nobel Lecture,  Dec  11, 1908