The University of Virginia School of Medicine has again shown that a part of the body thought to be disconnected from the immune system actually interacts with it, and that discovery helps explain cases of male infertility, certain autoimmune diseases and even the failure of cancer vaccines.
Scientists developing such vaccines may need to reconsider their work in light of the new findings or risk unintentionally sabotaging their own efforts. UVA’s Kenneth Tung, MD, said that many vaccines likely are failing simply because researchers are picking the wrong targets — targets that aren’t actually foreign to the immune system and thus won’t provoke the desired immune responses.
Tung, of UVA’s Beirne B. Carter Center for Immunology Research, and a team of collaborators have discovered an unexpected interaction between men’s testes and the immune system. While science textbooks insist the testes are barricaded from the immune system by an impenetrable wall of cells, the researchers have determined there’s actually a very small door in that wall, a door that appears to open in only one direction. Paper. (public access) – Kenneth S.K. Tung, Jessica Harakal, Hui Qiao, Claudia Rival, Jonathan C.H. Li, Alberta G.A. Paul, Karen Wheeler, Patcharin Pramoonjago, Constance M. Grafer, Wei Sun, Robert D. Sampson, Elissa W.P. Wong, Prabhakara P. Reddi, Umesh S. Deshmukh, Daniel M. Hardy, Huanghui Tang, C. Yan Cheng, Erwin Goldberg. Egress of sperm autoantigen from seminiferous tubules maintains systemic tolerance. Journal of Clinical Investigation, 2017; 127 (3): 1046 DOI: 10.1172/JCI89927 More.
Let’s be glad that the former assumption was not one of the icons of Darwinian evolution. If Zombie Science is any guide, it would still be in the textbooks twenty years from now, proppng up a fading belief system.
See also: Mars’ metal layers shouldn’t exist? Researchers: The planet does have small regions with weak magnetic fields in its southern hemisphere, but without a global field like Earth’s, it should not be able to form the layers that MAVEN sees.
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