A new study has identified a previously undescribed role for a type of unconventional T cell with the potential to be used in the development of new therapies for infection and cancer. The study, published today in Nature Communications, shows that Gamma Delta T cells are able to generate immunological memory against previous infections and cancerous targets. The results challenge the textbook description of Gamma Delta T cells as ‘natural born killers’ with an innate ability to recognise and destroy abnormal cells.
Myolaimus ibericus seen by scanning electron microscope. / Joaquín Abolafia
In the most arid areas where there is little to no water, there live nematodes of no more than 1 mm which feed on bacteria and help to mineralise soil and produce nutrients. In an orchard of Jaén a new species has appeared with a feature that makes them unique on the Iberian Peninsula: the males lack the copulatory organ. The southern part of the Iberian Peninsula, especially the southeastern tip, does not offer a very welcoming setting for these species. But despite the water deficit, nematodes, which are extremely small worms, known popularly as microworms, feed on bacteria they find in decomposing organic matter or on waste-strewn soil in order to survive.
A father and son from a village in the Tianlin County (China) gather firewood from the nearby forest (Nick Hogarth, CIFOR).
Village communities in the tropical regions of Africa, Asia and South America have not been using local forest resources as sustainably as is often assumed. This is the conclusion of a study published by scientists from the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) together with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and Wageningen University in science journal Environment Research Letters. According to the study, in 90% of the 233 villages analysed at least one forest product such as firewood, timber, food or animal feed has declined over five years.
Research led by University of Birmingham scientists has found that people suffering from the adrenal disorder known as Addison’s disease suffer from an immune system defect which makes them prone to potentially deadly respiratory infections. The study, published online in the European Journal of Endocrinology, shows for the first time that patients with primary adrenal insufficiency (PAI) have natural killer immune cells (NK) – which provide frontline protection against invading pathogens - that are not functioning properly in Addison’s disease.
A new study looks at how neonicotinoid pesticides affect wood frogs, which use surface waters in agricultural environments to breed and reproduce. Neonicotinoids are widely used insecticides that are applied to a variety of crops and are relatively persistent in the environment. The study found that some neonicotinoids may cause developmental delays in the frogs, but these are not necessarily detrimental. Additional studies are needed to investigative the direct and indirect effects of neonicotinoids on wood frogs and other amphibian populations.
“The slight delay in development may not be cause for concern on its own; however, in the natural environment, additional stressors such as mixtures of pesticides, predators, or parasites can contribute to further delays,” said Dr. Stacey Robinson, lead author of the Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry article. “Such cumulative stressors are important to consider in understanding the potential impact on amphibian populations.”
The patient is a retired teacher who had reported memory difficulties 12 months prior to the study. These difficulties referred to trouble remembering names and groceries she wanted to purchase, as well as frequently losing her papers and keys. According to the patient and her husband, the main difficulties that she encountered were related to prospective memory (e.g., forgetting medical appointments or to take her medication).
28 febbraio a Bruxelles il Consiglio Ambiente. “L’Italia persegua davvero impegni Parigi e chieda obiettivi più ambiziosi per Emission Trading Scheme”
Greenpeace, Legambiente, WWF, Italian Climate Network, Coordinamento Free e Kyoto Club rivolgono un appello al Ministro dell’Ambiente, Gianluca Galletti: l’Italia deve avere un ruolo propulsivo per rendere efficace il meccanismo dell’Emission Trading, non attestandosi su posizioni di mera difesa di alcuni settori e aiutando così mediazioni al ribasso, ma contribuendo a rendere davvero efficace lo schema quale strumento di lotta al cambiamento climatico e riconversione dell’economia. È essenziale che la UE riaffermi la propria leadership a livello globale sul clima.
The night vision of frogs and toads appears to be superior to that of all other animals. They have the ability to see colour even when it is so dark that humans are not able to see anything at all. This has been shown in a new study by researchers from Lund University in Sweden. Most vertebrates, including humans, have two types of visual cells located in the retina, namely cones and rods. The cones enable us to see colour, but they usually require a lot of light and therefore stop working when it gets dark, in which case the rods take over so that we can at least find our way home, albeit in black and white.
Il metodo innovativo utilizza nanocristalli d’argento che, attivati con luce laser, consentono di individuare anche minime tracce molecolari di malattie neurodegenerative. Lo ha messo a punto un team, guidato dall’Ifac-Cnr di Firenze, e formato da ricercatori dell’Imm-Cnr di Catania, dell’Università di Modena e Reggio Emilia e dell’Università di Saratov (Russia). Lo studio è stato pubblicato su Acs Nano
Grazie a una tecnica innovativa è possibile identificare l’‘impronta digitale’ di proteine e biomarcatori quando sono ancora presenti in minime tracce, riuscendo così a effettuare una diagnosi precoce di malattie neurodegenerative, quali l’Alzheimer e il Parkinson. A metterla a punto, un team di ricercatori dell’Istituto di fisica applicata (Ifac-Cnr), in collaborazione con i colleghi dell’Istituto di microelettronica e microsistemi (Imm-Cnr), del Dipartimento di chimica e scienze geologiche dell’Università di Modena e Reggio Emilia e dell’Università statale di Saratov (Russia). La ricerca è stata pubblicata su Acs Nano.