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How platelets help resolve lung inflammation


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Treating patients with acute respiratory failure is a constant challenge in intensive care medicine. In most cases, the underlying cause is lung inflammation triggered by a bacterial infection or—more rarely, despite being frequently observed at present due to the corona pandemic—a viral infection. During the inflammation, cells of the immune system—the white blood cells—migrate to the lungs and fight the pathogens. At the same time, however, they also cause 'collateral damage' in the lung tissue. If the inflammatory reaction is not resolved in time, this can result in chronic inflammation with permanent impairment of lung function. Together with colleagues from London, Madrid and Munich, a research team at the University of Münster headed by Prof Jan Rossaint and Prof Alexander Zarbock, two specialists in anaesthesiology and intensive care medicine, has gained new insight into the cellular processes involved in bacterial lung inflammation. In a study on mice, the researchers found that the interaction between platelets and certain white blood cells—the regulatory T cells—play a significant role in resolving the inflammation. The study has been published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine.

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