Remote-control immunity up close

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Mechanism shown for recruitment of monocytes to inflamed lymph nodes at distance from wound

When we receive a wound, disease-fighting cells rush to the scene to do combat with bodily invaders. But how does this work? When we receive a wound, cells near the wound send out chemical signals to attract disease-fighting cells. These chemical messengers travel to the lymph nodes in our bodies. The lymph node is, according to Ulrich von Andrian, Harvard Medical School associate professor of pathology at the Center for Blood Research, “the staging area for our fight against infection in the periphery.” The whole system operates, according to von Andrian, by “remote control.” The research contributes to our understanding of how the immune system works in the body. Von Andrian and his colleagues published their work in the November 2001 issue of the Journal of Experimental Medicine.