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Troublesome T cells have a healing side

Immune system cells linked to allergies also turn out to direct healing of mouse muscle wounds when paired with biologic “scaffolding” to support them, researchers from Johns Hopkins and the Kennedy Krieger Institute report. The finding, described in the April 15 issue of Science , adds to evidence that the immune system is key not just to fighting infectious and other diseases but also to kick-starting healing after an injury. They also indicate that so-called biomaterial scaffolds can more effectively spur healing if designed to “partner” with immune cells, the researchers say.

Healing With and Without Type 2 Helper T Cells
This is a cross-section of injured mouse muscle tissue, with healthy tissue in pink and scar tissue shown in purple. Both mice genetically lack T cells; the mouse on the left was injected with T cells that became type 2 helper T cells and aided healing.
Credit: Kenneth Estrellas/Johns Hopkins Medicine