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The Scandinavian Society for Immunology (SSI) includes the national immunological societies of the 5 Nordic countries: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. SSI has currently >1000 members.

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Selected articles September 2016

C-type Lectin Receptors, Basophils and Allergen-Specific Immunotherapy

C-type Lectin Receptor Expression on Human Basophils and Effects of Allergen-Specific Immunotherapy (pages 150–157)

K. Lundberg, F. Rydnert, S. Broos, M. Andersson, L. Greiff and M. Lindstedt

In this recent publication, researchers from Lund University in Sweden show that several C-type lectin receptors are present on the surface of basophils, suggesting that basophils may play an important role for the body´s ability to recognize different type of agents and can regulate the immune system to a larger extent than was previously known.

Basophils are emerging as immunoregulatory cells capable of interacting with their environment not only via their characteristic IgE-mediated activation, but also in an IgE-independent manner. Basophils are known to express and respond to stimulation via different receptors such as TLR2, TLR4, DC-SIGN and DCIR, but whether basophils also express other C-type lectin receptors is largely unknown. In this study, the researchers investigate the C-type lectin expression profile of human basophils using multicolour flow cytometry.

Kristina Lundberg is one of the lead authors of the paper and she is a senior postdoc in the group. She participated in all the parts of the study.

– I actively took part in the designing of the study, and I and Dr Rydnert, the shared lead author were responsible for detailed planning, performance and analysis of the experiments, she says.

The presence of the C-type lectin receptors on basophils did change during so called allergen specific immunotherapy, implicating that they might play a roll in changing the immune response during this kind of treatment, leading to a lower allergic reaction.

– This study is the first to show a broader picture on how basophils express C-type lectin receptors, and it opens up for further investigations of the role of basophils during allergic reactions and other immune responses, which is very exciting, Kristina Lundberg concludes.

Cardiac Syndrome X and the complement system

Association of Low Ficolin–Lectin Pathway Parameters with Cardiac Syndrome X (pages 174–181)

Z. Horváth, D. Csuka, K. Vargova, S. Leé, L. Varga, P. Garred, I. Préda, E. T. Zsámboki, Z. Prohászka and R. G. Kiss

In this recent publication, researchers from Hungary show that complement system activation via the lectin pathway might play a role by inducing microvascular dysfunction in patients with Cardiac Syndrome X.

Patients with typical angina pectoris and inducible myocardial ischaemia, but with macroscopically healthy coronary arteries are commonly known as ‘cardiac syndrome X’. In these patients, a significantly elevated plasma level of terminal complement complex, the common end product of complement activation, has been observed without accompanying activation of the classical or the alternative pathways. Therefore, the aim of this study was to clarify the role of the ficolin–lectin pathway in Cardiac Syndrome X.

In summary, the researchers demonstrate significantly lower serum levels of lectin pathway parameters, namely ficolin-2, ficolin-3, ficolin-3/MASP-2 complex and FCN3-TCC deposition, and significantly higher terminal complement complex levels in patients with Cardiac Syndrome X compared to healthy controls or to patients with angiographically proven coronary heart disease.

Zsofia Horvath was a PhD student in the research group at the time of the study and is currently working as a clinician, a trainee in cardiology.

– Since this was a clinical study, I enrolled all the patient as well as collected and prepared the plasma samples, she says. Measurements were performed in the frame of an international collaboration. Data analysis and preparation of the first draft of the manuscript were performed in our research group.    

Zsofia Horvath enjoyed the collaboration between the different research groups, and she is hopeful that another study in the same field will soon be published.

– We are doing analysis on acute and stable coronary heart disease patients and complement system activation via the alternative pathway and I also hope to be able to defend my thesis soon, she concludes. 

 

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