Renin produced by a subset of B lymphocytes aids control of bacterial infection
Whenever you feel thirsty, that’s the hormone renin at work. It's released by special cells in your kidneys and tells your brain you need to drink something. However, renin-producing cells are also found outside the kidney. What do they do here? Researchers now investigate by studying renin-producing immune cells in the blood called B-1 lymphocytes. These cells were harvested from mice and grown in dishes with E.coli bacteria. Scanning electron microscopy (pictured) revealed that these cells (balls) produced cables of renin, and trapped and engulfed bacteria (cylinders) to control bacterial growth. The team then measured the growth of the bacteria Salmonella with or without B-1 lymphocytes. Bacterial growth was reduced when B-1 lymphocytes were present. Finally, they grew Salmonella with B-1 lymphocytes from mutant mice lacking renin – bacterial growth wasn’t reduced as much as with normal B-1 lymphocytes. Renin production, therefore, helps B-1 lymphocytes fight off infections.
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