WebAnatomy Endocrine Glands #1
LIFE AND DEATH STRUGGLE: PROTEINS PLAY AGAINST EACH OTHER,
Bringing Balance to Immune System, National Jewish Researchers Find
DENVER-Each day, viruses attack the immune system looking to gain a
foothold in the body and cause sickness.
But the immune system regularly turns away these invaders by using antibodies and killer T cells that attack the
antigen. Until now, scientists only knew these that events happened, but not how or why. A research team at
National Jewish Medical and Research Center led by Philippa Marrack, Ph.D., and John Kappler, Ph.D., report
in the April 28 issue of Science that they have discovered how certain proteins work together in the immune
system to control the T cells that attack viruses such as chicken pox, measles and other diseases.
National Jewish researchers have shown that the proteins IL-15 and IL-2
work together to balance the immune
response against antigens. Researchers found that IL-15 drives the production and division of "memory" killer
T cells and IL-2 kills these T cells as they divide.
"Memory" T cells are the immune system's primary defenders against antigens.
When the immune system first comes
in contact with an antigen-such as the viruses that cause chicken pox, measles or polio-it creates killer T cells
that then turn into "memory" T cells. If and when the antigen invades the immune system a second time, these
"memory" T cells recognize the invader and bind to it, killing the antigen more quickly than during the first
exposure. "You get a nuclear holocaust, not just gunfire," said Dr. Marrack, a National Jewish researcher who
studies the inner workings of the immune system. (This is why people don't get chicken pox, measles or similar
immune diseases more than once.)
Still, researchers were unsure if T cells maintained the ability to
remember antigens from one exposure to another-there
could be decades between exposures-by laying in wait, by being exposed to antigens regularly or by holding on to small
parts of the virus. Recently, National Jewish researchers found that none of these explanations were quite right. Rather,
"memory" T cells stay alive for many years because they divide slowly, stimulated by a special hormone (cytokine) of the
immune system, IL-15. Another immune system cytokine, IL-2, prevents this IL-15-induced production from getting
out of control.
Working together, IL-15 and IL-2 help to provide equilibrium to the
immune system. When an immune response to an
antigen is mounted, IL-15 is produced, which causes T cells to divide and attack the invader and stimulates "memory"
T cells. At the same time that IL-15 production increases, IL-2 controls the proliferation of "memory" T cells-caused by
increasing amounts of IL-15-by killing some T cells as they divide.
"In immune responses," Dr. Marrack said, "the stimulatory effects of
one cytokine are frequently counterbalanced by
the inhibiting effects of another cytokine. This balance allows the immune system to battle antigens with a controlled
response." Interleukins are a cytokines, proteins, that are secreted by different types of cells in the body, and which
regulate the intensity and length of immune responses. National Jewish scientists believe that this information could help
doctors create better treatments in the future for immune diseases such as AIDS, lupus or rheumatoid arthritis. In the future,
doctors may be able to use this knowledge to regulate the division of T cells. Changing the balance of the proteins that
affect T cells-in effect regulating the immune response to an antigen-could be used successfully with medical therapies.
"You might be able to attack that balance by changing either IL-2 or IL-15," Dr. Marrack said. Chia Chi Ku, Ph.D.,
Masaaki Murakami, Ph.D., DVM, and Akemi Sakamoto, M.D., also contributed to this research.
Jordan Gruener, APR
Media Relations Manager
National Jewish Medical and Research Center
PH: 303-398-1002 FAX: 303-398-1125
THE ROLE OF THE THYMUS GLAND IN HEALTH AND ANTI-AGING
The thymus gland is the central control organ for the immune system. When
it is functioning properly,
the thymus gland acts like a thermostat to provide the right balance of immunity. It turns up to help the
body fight infection or tumor and down to prevent autoimmune disease.
The thymus gland may experience physiological changes which make it less
effective, such as stress
and the process of aging. This is problematic as studies reveal that an underactive thymus gland is
associated with increased incidences of cancer and infections.
It is imperative then to support thymus function. Dr. Terry Beardsley explains
how to do so naturally:
20 Zinc. "Zinc has been studied as a critical mineral for immune function. Dr. Robert Good, who is considered
one of the pioneers in understanding thymic function, has shown over the years, with many studies, that zinc is
a critical mineral for immunity.
Thymic hormone replacement. "Numerous studies have shown that the blood
levels of thymic
peptides decline with age. So, it’s likely that you’ll need some kind of replacement of that function, much
like hormone replacement therapy has been shown effective in other age-related processes. Taking a
thymic-derived peptide may be helpful in preventing some of these age-related declines in immune
function....This is based on animal studies as well as studies in AIDS and cancer patients, where we’ve
shown that we can induce an increase in T4 in half the population and the T4/T8 ratio, which is critically
important in providing the proper balance. We have not done any specific studies on aging at this point;
we can only extrapolate from our studies with other immune-deficient models that replacing these peptides
on a regular basis with supplements may help prevent the decline."
THE THYMUS GLAND - THE HEART OF THE IMMUNE SYSTEM
The Thymus is a small gland located in the chest just under the breastbone.
The Thymus is critically important in the
body's response to disease invasion. White blood cells originate in the bone marrow. About half of them go directly
into the bloodstream and tissue fluids, but the rest of them must pass through the Thymus gland. The Thymus gland
is a central figure of the immune system because of its primary role in processing these white blood cells into
T lymphocytes. These thymic lymphocytes carry out three defensive functions; First, they stimulate the production
and growth of antibodies by other lymphocytes. Second, they stimulate the growth and action of the phagocytes,
which surround and engulf invading viruses and microbes. Finally, the thymus lymphocytes recognize and destroy
foreign and abnormal tissue.
The following are just some examples of the factors that can lower immune
system efficiency and make one more
susceptible to all form of disease and illness: alcohol, smoking, many prescription drugs, other drug use, high
cholesterol levels, excessive sugar consumption, allergies, chemical exposure, food additives, stress (physical,
mental, emotional), plus any other diseases or illnesses and many other external factors.
The Immune System is most important to the body. It is the immune system
that fights off
disease-carrying germs and bacteria that enter the body. The antibodies and antitoxins of this system
recognize these foreign bodies and attack them using LEUKOCYTES (white blood cells.)
When the immune system weakens, infections can take over. You become more susceptible to colds,
viruses, flus, and more serious illnesses. There are a number of substances (vitamins, minerals, enzymes,
etc.) that are essential for the functioning of the human immune system.Vitamin A is the anti-infection
vitamin. If used properly, vitamin A is rarely toxic and is very important in the body's defense system.
Vitamin C, with bioflavonoids, is essential to the formation of the adrenal hormones
and in the production of lymphocytes, and has a direct effect on bacteria and viruses. Vitamin C may be
the most single most important vitamin for the immune system. Vitamin E interacts with vitamins A and C
and selenium, acting as a primary antioxidant and scavenger of toxic free radicals. Vitamin E activity is
an intergral part of the body's defense system.
Kelp in the form of giant red kelp. or brown kelp, has specific substances in it that are necessary for the
immune system's functional integrity.
Acidophilus, Coenzyme Q10, Garlic capsules, and many more, different herbs, vit's, minerals, and
enzymes, etc., contribute to a healthly immune system. But I MUST remind before adding any
supplement to your diet, "always consult your doctor" If anyone wants to discuss doses, amounts, etc.,
before speaking with your doctor feel free to post me personally, and I DO NOT sell them nor
recomemd any brand. One other thing, an underactive thyroid results in immune deficiencys.
Subject: [SECONDWIND] [Fwd: Re: [SECONDWIND] lots of messages]
Date: Wed, 26 Apr 2000 03:46:06 -0400
Stan Robbins <robstaf@FLS.INFI.NET>
All of my adult life I have had radiologists almost faint when they
see an initial xray of my lungs. I had very severe bouts of pneumonia
as a kid which left both of my lungs looking like WW1 trench battle maps. But that is not IPF nor does it indicate IPF. That is an
unremitting inflammation and the resultant damage the body's immune system creates by attacking this 'invader'. The only problem is
that the invader left long ago and for some reason the body never told the immune system that the war was over. As explained simply
to me by my personal pulmonoligist when I was first diagnosed:
The lungs contain minute channels or tubes throughout the lobes. These tubes are where the oxygen is separated from the atmosphere
we breathe (which is actually mostly nitrogen) and allows the molecules of O2 to pass into the blood stream. Normally when the body
sustains a wound the immune system triggers and produces lymph to rebuild the damage but your personal knowledge will tell you what
that substance does on your skin. It clots, turns hard and dries out. It's absolutely a miracle for almost any injury the human body receives. Almost.
In the lungs the substances sent to repair whatever the original damage was in the lungs suddenly starts viewing its past repair job as a
continuing infection and continues to 'repair' damage. IPF progresses from the lung bases up through the lung at varying rates. All of the
little tubes are all still there but as time passes the effect of the lymph and other substances renders the normally soft tissue into something
akin to leather because it dries it out. So breathing becomes a very muscular thing rather than something most people just do and don't
even think about it. All IPF patients develop unbelievable chest muscles to cope with this condition over time as the lungs become less
elastic. And fatigue becomes prevalent along with a lack of interest in food such as a whole meal in favor of high carb, quick foods that
do not entail much chewing. Digestion takes O2 and that commodity starts to get scarce. A majority will also develop extreme irritation
to aromas. Most non effected parties tend to view this is eccentric and mental. It is not and causes great pain and inflammation to lung
patients. Perfume or cooking odors can literally drive a patient to run out of a house. If anyone around her uses talc, perfume, hair spray,
cooks spicy foods - particularly fried foods - without a kitchen powered vent to the outside - stop right now. Your daughter will love you
This can also lead to trouble sleeping and people jumping awake in the middle of the night. They are also very puzzled why this happens
because they are becoming more and more fatigued - but it is not fatigue - it is lack of oxygen. This condition is felt by the sufferer as
severe fatigue. No matter how much sleep they get they feel as though they have not had any.
That is why supplemental O2 is paramount in keeping patients healthy while awaiting transplant. Their old tubes used to look like this
|| but once damaged by the immune system itself they now are bent >>
and the O2 molecule remains a hair's breath away from the blood stream because it is too large to make the turn. At this point in time this process cannot be stopped by anything known to medical science and until transplant came along it was an unequivocal death sentence.
This disease can also have an impact on the digestive system in other ways. People develop G.E.R.D. - no matter what age.
That's Reflux Disease as seen on all the commercials - it is not simply heartburn and can be deadly. It causes the spincter muscles of the
stomach to weaken allows the upward passage of digestive juices to flow up into the esopoghus. This material, particularly while asleep,
can be sucked into the lungs and cause severe damage. Most patients are put on Zantac or Prilosec or other such drugs in prescription
doses to minimize this.
Getting back to the testing. A biopsy has to be done to confirm a diagnosis of IPF. It is accomplishes sometimes (if you are lucky) by use
of a bronchoscope and entails no surgery. The other methods are surgery and are usually Thoroscopic Biopsy (similar to laprascopy but
this is inserted between the ribs to reach the lung bases); or an open biopsy surgery which is very invasive and involves a recuperative
period. And the numbers we all speak of relate to the saturated percentage of O2 circulating in the bloodstream. Anything below 90%
isn't exactly good for you nor is it very pleasant to live with. If I place my hand firmly over your mouth you will have trouble breathing
and tend to get dizzy. You will finally panic and push my hand away. Your daughter's 'hand' is invisible and she cannot remove it, it gets
scary not being able to breath.
And as far as what you report about your doctors. Here to fore I do not care what your personality type is but you are going to have to
develop an assertive attitude for your daughters sake and keep it. So will her husband. You are her caregivers and her salvation. If you
think any doctor has a halo around his head, ditch those notions right now. You are going to find good, bad, stupid, uncaring, egotistical
and expert doctors along the way. In transplant you don't even want the good ones. You want the experts no matter where you have to
go to find them in all things. In all Things. In all Things. You be repetitive, redundant and as forward as you have to be to protect
her. Her disease will progress and she has no time for 'Aunt Mille's favorite general practitioner' or homespun medicine. Go with your gut
reactions to these medical types - you do not owe them anything - and do not be afraid to tell them off and walk away. After all, the single
most important part of this equation is your daughter, not some over inflated medical type who thinks he is God.
Remember, God doesn't have an 'MD' after his name, he does not need it - but some doctors do.
At your daughter's reported stage most pulmonoligists would probably have her on low flow O2, probably 2 liters per minute to maintain
her health and allow her to relax from her stressful breathing. They would also medicate her with something to help control the inflammation
such as Prednisone or in some cases drugs as severe as some chemo drugs. No matter what the biopsy turns up she should already be on
a regimen such as these regardless of what the underlying disease is. This should be the first order of business for you to contend with. Ask questions and do not take a sneeror cold 'you poor child' stare for an answer. Remember you are paying for that white coat he is wearing
- he works for you, not the other way around.
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last edited on 6-24-2000