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In total there are 168 English news articles.
BPRC researchers contributed to a new international study, which investigated how selection is operating on the female X-chromosome of great apes. This study, published in PNAS (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25941379), suggests that specific parts of this chromosome in great apes show strong signatures of natural selection resulting in the reduction of diversity.
Humans can be infected with different species of the malaria parasite. These species were originally acquired from other primate hosts. Currently, in Southeast Asia, human infections caused by a primate malaria that has not been seen before in humans, Plasmodium knowlesi, are emerging. Genetic analyses of these infections shed light on the origin and the potential risks for spreading of this new pathogen for humans.
On 27 May 2015 Céline van der Putten successfully defended her Ph.D. thesis entitled ‘Modulation of Toll-like Receptor-mediated activation of Microglia’.
Microglia are a specific type of cells from the immune system that reside in the central nervous system (CNS). These cells have important functions in the healthy CNS as well as during pathogenic conditions. Microglia can contribute to the initiation, progression and resolution of disease processes. Activated microglia are involved in many diseases of the CNS, such as multiple sclerosis (MS), but their exact role is not yet clear.
The immune system plays a central role in the defense against environmental threats - such as infection with viruses, parasites or bacteria - but can also be a cause of disease, such as in the case of allergic or autoimmune disorders. In the past decades the impressive development of biotechnology has provided scientists with biological tools for the development of highly selective treatments for the different types of disorders. However, despite some clear successes the translation of scientific discoveries into effective treatments has remained challenging.
It is estimated that worldwide thirty million people are infected with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), the virus that causes AIDS. Until now, there is no effective vaccine against HIV. This is a due to the high variability of the virus and to the virus attacking the immune system, thereby hampering efficient immune responses. More research is still needed. Central to the research is the question: how to provoke a massive immune response that can eliminate different variants of the virus? BPRC researchers have tested a possible strategy.
Macrophages are the cleaning cells of the body and are an important component of the innate immune system. Literally translated, the term macrophage means ‘wolverine’. Macrophages have useful functions within the body, removing among other things the remains of dead or damaged cells. They are also involved in the detection of pathogens and in controlling other immune cells. Many organs are populated by specific types of macrophages. Some of those are even derived from different progenitors. BPRC researchers have studied the properties of a macrophage type that is located in the brain, the so-called microglia. In particular, the response of these cells to inflammatory reactions was studied.
The immune system protects the body against pathogens. In autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis (MS), this system is dysfunctional, resulting in an attack of tissues of the own body by the immune system. In MS, the insulating layer around nerves in de brains is destroyed, causing problems in the nerve conduction and hampering the control of the muscles. It may be possible to halt the progress of the disease by inhibiting the cells that are involved in the destruction of the insulating layer.
Cells of the immune system protect the body by attacking and eliminating pathogens. In Multiple Sclerosis (MS) patients however, for unknown reasons, these cells show abnormal responses against tissues normally present in the body, causing tissue damage that can ultimately lead to MS.
The West Nile virus (WNV) is transmitted by mosquitoes. Especially in immunologically compromised individuals, the virus can cause severe disease such as meningitis. Worldwide, the number of WNV outbreaks in the human population is increasing. To date, there is no approved vaccine for use in humans.
In the search for a vaccine against HIV, many obstacles have to be overcome. For example, a vaccine should not only provide protection against disease, but must also be safe and large-scale production should be as cheap as possible. Researchers at the BPRC have tested a new vaccine that may meet these criteria.