Natural variation in the parameters of innate immune cells is preferentially driven by genetic factors

Journal: Nature Immunology

Published: 2018-02-23

DOI: 10.1038/s41590-018-0049-7

Affiliations: 25

Authors: 29

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Research Highlight

The factors of immunity

© Oliver Helbig/EyeEm/Getty

© Oliver Helbig/EyeEm/Getty

Sex, age, smoking, and genetics affect numbers and types of circulating immune cells, a research consortium has found. 

The group, including researchers from Genentech, counted and assessed the activation state of innate (present in the body) and acquired (produced in response to a foreign substance) immune cells in, and sequenced the genomes of, 1,000 healthy adults. The data was compared with demographic variables. 

They found men had, for example, a larger number of activated natural killer cells than women. And smokers had larger numbers of active T cells than non-smokers. They also detected a gene variation that affects the expression of a receptor on some types of monocytes. The presence of this receptor helps doctors decide whether septic shock patients could benefit from immune-stimulating therapies. The results indicate that genetic makeup should be considered during testing in these patients. 

They also found other genetic variations in innate immune cells that can be linked to autoimmune diseases, which could provide insights into how the conditions develop.

Supported content

  1. Nature Immunology 19, 302–314 (2018). doi: 10.1038/s41590-018-0049-7
Institutions Share
Pasteur Institute, France 0.21
Genentech, Inc., United States of America (USA) 0.21
Center of Bioinformatics, Biostatistics and Integrative Biology (C3BI), France 0.09
Laboratory of Lymphopoiesis, France 0.06
Laboratory of Immunobiology of Dendritic Cells, France 0.05
Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland 0.05
Department of Genomes and Genetics, France 0.04
Mass Spectrometry for Biology Unit, France 0.04
Laboratory of Antibodies in Therapy and Pathology, France 0.03
Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics (SIB), Switzerland 0.03
Lund University (LU), Sweden 0.03
Center of Clinical Investigations in Biotherapies of Cancer (CICBT), France 0.03
Curie Institute, France 0.03
Laboratory of Immunoregulation, France 0.02
Développement du système immunitaire, France 0.02
Lymphocyte Population Biology Unit, France 0.02
Laboratory of Innate Immunity, France 0.01
Les Centres Labellisés INCa de Phase Précoce (CLIP2) Institut Curie, France 0.01
Immunity and Cancer Unit, France 0.01