Shuichi Takayama’s highlights

Our Associate Editor shares his top picks on immuno-engineering

Shuichi Takayama

We are delighted to draw your attention to Associate Editor Shuichi Takayama‘s top picks on the topic of immuno-engineering.

The immune system is indispensable for health and central to many diseases. Its importance and complexity make the immune system fertile grounds for innovation and integration of biological models with the latest tools to provide biological insights otherwise difficult to obtain. Below are several articles from 2016 issues of Integrative Biology that highlight such efforts where the tools used range from microfluidics and biomaterials to computational.

Neutrophils are the most abundant white blood cells in humans and the 1st responders at sites of injury or insult. The first two articles highlighted below describe new tools to study neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) which are DNA-protein fibres that these cells produce to physically catch bacteria and protect our body but can also damage tissues as well.

Please follow the links below for free access* to the full papers.

1) Capillary plexuses are vulnerable to neutrophil extracellular traps
L. Boneschansker, Y. Inoue, R. Oklu and D. Irimia

This article describes the use of blood vessel-like branching microfluidic channels to study how NETs can alter blood flow and negatively impact health. An interesting finding is that NETs produced from a small number of neutrophils can have a surprisingly large impact on which downstream channels red blood cells can flow to. This finding provides unique insights into how inflammation, which lead to NET production, may lead to tissue hypoxia and organ injury.

2) Microfluidic device for simultaneous analysis of neutrophil extracellular traps and production of reactive oxygen species
S. F. Moussavi-Harami, K. M. Mladinich, E. K. Sackmann, M. A. Shelef, T. W. Starnes, D. J. Guckenberger, A. Huttenlocher and D. J. Beebe

Neutrophil function can be an indicator of health and disease. Profiling such cellular level functions in patient blood, however, is tricky because of the rapid deterioration of such function with time and the inherent cell-to-cell variability. This paper describes a microfluidic device that can quickly isolate neutrophils from blood and measure their ability to recognize bacteria, produce NETs, and generate reactive oxygen species with single cell resolution.

3) Stiff substrates enhance monocytic cell capture through E-selectin but not P-selectin
J. L. MacKay and D.A. Hammer

Many diseases such as atherosclerosis, diabetes, and obesity cause chronic inflammation.  Interestingly, these types of disease are also associated with blood vessel stiffening.  This paper provides a mechanistic link between these two observations by clever use of biomaterials to show that E-selectin, but not P-selectin, mediate monocyte adhesion in a substrate stiffness-dependent manner.

4) 3-D individual cell based computational modeling of tumor cell–macrophage paracrine signaling mediated by EGF and CSF-1 gradients
H. Knutsdottir, J. S. Condeelis and E. Palsson

Macrophages and tumor cells mutually influence directed migration to metastasize. The details of such behavior, however, is difficult to grasp intuitively or with simple equations especially in 3D environments. This article uses computational models to reveal how chemical communications through EGF and CSF-1 explains complex cellular behaviors observed both in vitro and in vivo such as what macrophage numbers maximize tumor cell migration.

Integrative Biology publishes novel insights into biological questions, which have been achieved through the use of new technologies, techniques and methods. If your research scope fits that of the articles above, please get in touch; we would be very interested to hear more.

We hope you enjoy reading these articles.

*Access is free until 06/05/2016 through a registered RSC account.

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