Our Immune Systems Are Wired To Fight Infections At First Contact

Professor Søren Riis Paludan DMSc, PhD Department of Biomedicine Aarhus University Denmark

Prof. Paludan

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Professor Søren Riis Paludan DMSc, PhD
Department of Biomedicine
Aarhus University
Denmark

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Prof. Paluden: We were interested in understanding the first immune reactions that occur when an organism meets an infectious agent (virus or bacteria).

The main finding is that we have identified an immune reaction that is activated as the microbe disturbed the mucus layer at mucosal surfaces. This is an immune reaction occuring earlier than what has been thought previously, and may represent a mechanism that enables the organism to fight most microbes that we meet without mounting strong immune responses. This is important, since strong immune reactions – in addition to contributing to elimination of microbes – also have negative effects such as fever, etc.

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Prof. Paluden: At this stage our new finding represents new basic knowledge. If future research shows that this is important for defense against common human pathogens, clinicians could screen patients with severe and frequent infections for genetic defects in the components involved in this early host defense mechanism.

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Prof. Paluden: We have not yet dissected the molecular mechanism underlying the early defense system at mucosal surfaces. This should be done now, and is a prerequisite for identifying the proteins and genes involved.

Citation:

Nat Immunol. 2015 Nov 30. doi: 10.1038/ni.3319. [Epub ahead of print]

An innate antiviral pathway acting before interferons at epithelial surfaces.

Iversen MB1,2, Reinert LS1,2, Thomsen MK1,2, Bagdonaite I3, Nandakumar R1,2, Cheshenko N4, Prabakaran T1,2, Vakhrushev SY3, Krzyzowska M5, Kratholm SK1,2, Ruiz-Perez F6, Petersen SV1, Goriely S7, Bibby BM8, Eriksson K9, Ruland J10, Thomsen AR11, Herold BC4, Wandall HH3, Frische S1, Holm CK1,2,Paludan SR1,2.

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Professor Søren Riis Paludan (2015). Our Immune Systems Are Wired To Fight Infections At First Contact