Scientists have detected two new types of blood cells in the human immune system. The newly known cells are named as monocytes and dendritic cells. These two blood cells are subtypes of White Blood Cells (WBC).
The group of researchers from New York University, Harvard University, and MITs Broad Institute have discovered this two subtypes present in blood cells and also discovered a new dendritic cell progenitor. The human body consists of the Red Blood Cell (RBC), White Blood Cell (WBC) and platelets. The results of the study have been published on April 21 in the journal Science.
Dendritic Cells and Monocytes
Dendritic cells are equipped with antigens that are present on its surface. These cells process antigen and place them on the surface of T cells of the immune system.
Monocytes are the largest type of white blood cells also known as the leukocyte. Monocytes digest the debris present in the human cells.
The scientists used a technique called single-cell genomics to study the gene expression patterns in blood cells. Earlier, many immune cells were studied too with the help of marker protein expressed by these cells.
The single-cell genomics technique is quite powerful and it can even reveal unrecognized and rare cell types.
For the purpose of the study, the blood was taken from the healthy donors. Then, the researchers have performed single-cell RNA sequencing of 2,400 cells present in the blood sample.
Dendritic cells and monocytes present in WBC’s acts as a shield protecting us from infection, said Divya Shah, from Wellcome Trust’s Infection and Immunobiology team.
Outcomes of the study
Apart from just identifying these cells, the researchers have made a novel discovery in understanding the role of monocytes and dendritic cells in immune responses. This new research will help the medical experts to distinguish the immune cells on basis of its functionality and development. It can also enhance the immune system response and protect us against diseases.
The scientists believe that this new method of classification of immune cells will not only help researchers analyze the cells accurately, in terms of functionality and development but also help monitor the human body’s immune system at all times.