Glow chemical in TV crime shows inspires medical detectivesMarch 30th, 2009 - 6:14 pm ICT by IANS
Washington, March 30 (IANS) Inspired by detectives on TV shows who often spray crime scenes with a compound called luminol to make the blood glow, researchers are using the same compound to mark sites where the immune system attacks the body’s own tissues, causing auto-immune diseases.
The study authors from Washington University School of Medicine (WUSM) in St. Louis, reported that injected luminol glows blue at sites of active immune inflammation in living mice, and that they can detect this glow from outside with scientific cameras.
Immune inflammation is thought to be a critical component of arthritis and other auto-immune diseases such atherosclerosis, some forms of cancer and neurodegenerative disease.
Imaging such inflammation non-invasively should help scientists better understand and control it, according to the researchers.
“It’s quite striking how specific and sensitive this approach is,” said senior study author David Piwnica-Worms. “For example, we have evidence that this technique can highlight inflamed tissue that is on the way to becoming cancerous but not yet discernible via visual or tactile inspection.”
Piwnica-Worms, professor of radiology and developmental biology at WUSM, notes that cardiologists now believe immune inflammation is a key component that makes an arterial plaque dangerous.
Such inflammation causes platelets to bind to plaques, leading the plaques to rupture or break away and putting the patient at risk of heart attack, stroke or lung clots, said a WUMS release.
For now, blood vessels of the chest and torso are too deep within the body to image with this approach. But vessels of the leg and neck are close enough to the skin that the technique may be “directly translatable” to use in human patients, according to Piwnica-Worms.
These findings were published in Nature Medicine.
- Compound used by TV crime detectives helps detect immune inflammation in mice - Mar 23, 2009
- Dental bugs may trigger fatal heart condition - Mar 26, 2012
- New imaging technique sheds light on inflammation - Oct 16, 2010
- How swallowing worms can heal ulcerative colitis - Dec 02, 2010
- Breakthrough opens way for curing auto-immune disease - Mar 13, 2012
- Scientists block multiple sclerosis in mouse model - Mar 08, 2011
- Imaging breakthrough to help docs see microscopic details inside our bodies - Nov 23, 2010
- Scientists show how infection fighting cells form - Jul 10, 2012
- COPD could be an auto-immunity problem - Nov 20, 2010
- Why inflammation ravages ex-smokers' lungs - Oct 29, 2009
- Inflammation drug promising in depression - Sep 04, 2012
- India-Cuba joint discovery in biomedical sciences wins award - Jul 19, 2011
- New probiotic fights inflammatory bowel diseases - Feb 01, 2011
- Protein discovery could lead to better autoimmune disease, cancer drugs - Mar 03, 2011
- Breakthrough can re-grow blood vessels in heart - Feb 17, 2012
Tags: arterial plaque, auto immune diseases, blood vessels, crime scenes, critical component, developmental biology, glows, heart attack, human patients, inflamed tissue, inflammation, lung clots, medical detectives, nature medicine, risk of heart attack, school of medicine, study author, study authors, washington university school of medicine, wusm