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Not just supporting actors

Non-classical monocytes were long thought to play a purely surveillance role in the immune system. With the aid of a novel marker (PD-L1), IPEK sientists have now shown that they are directly involved in the regulation of immune response.

Monocytes comprise a functionally specific group of white blood cells and are known to play a role in the immune system. Based on the sets of proteins found on their surfaces, they can be divided into two major subtypes, known respectively as classical and non-classical monocytes, which serve different functions in the immune system. 


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Up to now, non-classical monocytes have been viewed solely as surveillance cells that circulate in the bloodstream and serve to recruit other immune cells to sites of damage in the walls of blood vessels. Scientists led by IPEK members Johan Duchêne, Mariaelvy Bianchini, Remco Megens and Christian Weber have now identified a specific marker for these cells. Using this tool, they then went on to show, in a mouse experimental model, that non-classical monocytes also play a direct regulatory role in the adaptive immune response in certain tissues. The new study appears in the journal Science Immunology.




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Science Immunology 2019