Giant waste bins: Researchers unravel abilities of the immune system's giant cells

Pathologists have known about the existence of multinucleated giant cells (MGCs) for over a century but a clear picture of their abilities was still lacking. The cells occur in certain chronic inflammatory diseases, such as tuberculosis, but also during the foreign body reaction to implants, such as an artificial hip. Recently, researchers from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have discovered, in cooperation with colleagues from the UK, how large, fused cells help our body to deal with bulky items that may otherwise obstruct normal physiological processes. Since MGCs are so big and derive from multiple phagocytic cells, it had been suggested that they may act as specialized disposal units for particular forms of waste, but a definitive confirmation or a molecular and cellular basis for this theory was so far lacking.
Source :      2015/12/9 10:47

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