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The January special issue of Cellular & Molecular Immunology on Diverse immunologic roles of γδ T cells discusses recent progress conceiving the diverse immunologic roles in γδ T cells. The accompanying web focus brings together the collection of related articles from across Springer Nature.
NK cells, which play important roles in homeostasis, surveillance and defense, the three major functions of the immune system, were first observed in 1975, 20 years after the discovery of T and B lymphocytes. Despite almost 40 years passing, our understanding of NK cell immunology in general lags far behind that of T and B lymphocytes. However, over the past 5 years, significant progress has been made in understanding NK cell biology.
Over the past several decades, significant progress has been made in understanding the roles of B cells in immunity and autoimmunity. B-cell development, occurring in the bone marrow, is a complex dynamic process involved in immunoglobulin (Ig) gene rearrangement and B-cell receptor (BCR) expression. Early progenitor B (pro-B) cells initiate DNA rearrangement at their Ig heavy chain loci, resulting in the synthesis of m-chains in the cytoplasm and the assembly of the precursor B-cell receptor (pre-BCR). Following the successful rearrangement of light chain genes, these precursor B (pre-B) cells differentiate into immature B cells when whole IgM molecules are expressed as functional BCR on the cell surface. The newly formed immature B cells then leave the bone marrow and become mature B lymphocytes in the peripheral lymphoid organs.
Follicular helper T cells (TFH) are able to closely interact with B cells to promote the formation of germinal centers (GCs). The stable cognate interaction between TFH and B cells in the GC is mutually beneficial to both cells for their development and function. Specifically, help B cells produce long-lived memory B cells and high-affinity antibodies and, in reciprocation, TFH cells are helped by B cells for further differentiation through cell cognation. This results in effective antibody responses to provide protection against pathogenic microbes. This focus presents links to related articles from across Springer Nature to provide more background information about these cells.
The January 2012 special issue presents two important strategies for generating potent and lasting anti-tumor immunity. The first strategy is to subvert immune suppressive networks in the tumor microenvironment. The second strategy is to optimize conventional and anti-biological modalities to directly target tumor and adjacent tumor tissue, and mobilize and expand anti-tumor immunity in the tumor microenvironment which results in tumor eradication. Further background information on this important topic is available through the accompanying web focus which links to related articles from across Springer Nature.
In recent decades enormous effort has been made to elucidate the pathogenesis of autoimmune and autoinflammatory diseases. Autoimmunity is a multifactorial process in which genetic, immunological, environmental and hormonal factors act in concert, representing what was termed some years ago the “mosaic of autoimmunity”. The May 2011 Special Issue on Cutting Edge Issues in Immunology and Autoimmunity summarizes our current understanding of this complex mosaic. The accompanying selection of recent articles from across the Springer Nature provide further insight into this topic.
Celiac disease is an intestinal inflammatory disorder that occurs in genetically predisposed individuals and causes intolerance to wheat protein gluten and related proteins (prolamines) that are contained in barley and rye. Histologically, the small bowel mucosa in celiac disease shows villous atrophy (lost of villi), crypt hyperplasia and lymphocyte infiltration. To allow better understand the histological damage that occurs during mucosal changes Marsh proposed a series of stages to aid diagnostics: Marsh I represents lymphocytic enteritis, Marsh II represents lymphocytic enteritis with crypt hyperplasia, and Marsh III represents partial (a), subtotal (b) and total (c) villous atrophy. These changes are accompanied by a gradual increase in the number of T cells and activation of immunoregulatory counteractions in the diseased mucosa. The March 2011 special issue on celiac sprue and mucosal immunity presents some of the latest advances in celiac disease diagnostics; the web focus further expands our understanding of this inflammatory disorder through a collection of recent articles from across Springer Nature.
Helper T cell heterogeneity was discovered two decades ago, initially with the designation of Th1 and Th2 cells, which are involved in immunity against intracellular and extracellular pathogens, respectively. Several years ago a third lineage was identified as the Th17 cells and several novel T cell subsets have since been found, including Treg and Tfh cells. The collection of articles presented in the May special issue and accompanying web focus summarize our understanding of the development and function of the T cell subsets in immunity and immune diseases.