The human body still holds some secrets yet unrevealed by scientists. However, one of these mysteries has been discovered recently, as scientists found a new “micro-organ” in the human immune system. The discovery could help researchers develop new and better vaccines.
Hundreds of years of research revealed that the body is more capable of fighting an infection, once it encountered that illness before. Vaccines are based on those centuries-old studies. Now, the newly found “micro-organ” might be crucial in how the human immune system “memorize” immunity.
The scientists from the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Australia noticed thin and flat structures above the immune system’s lymph nodes in mice. The new organ was named Subcapsular Proliferative Foci (SPF).
According to the researchers, the SPF acts as the “briefing room” where the entire counter-attack strategy is planned against infections. After investigating further, the scientists also observed the presence of the new “micro-organ” in humans, as well.
Newly found “micro-organ” in the human immune system might pave the way to more effective vaccines
“When you’re fighting bacteria that can double in number every 20 to 30 minutes, every moment matters. To put it bluntly, if your immune system takes too long to assemble the tools to fight the infection, you die,” explained Tri Phan, the study’s leading author.
“Vaccination trains the immune system so that it can make antibodies very rapidly when an infection reappears. Until now we didn’t know how and where this happened,” the researcher added.
By analyzing the Subcapsular Proliferative Foci structures, the scientists observed Memory B cells in the SPFs composition. These cells tell the immune system how to respond in case of an infection.
“It was exciting to see the memory B cells being activated and clustering in this new structure that had never been seen before. We could see them moving around, interacting with all these other immune cells and turning into plasma cells before our eyes,” said Imogen Moran, one of the researchers.
The scientists concluded that the new “micro-organ” in the human immune system has everything in its composition to keep infections at bay.