Immune Cells' Roles in Tissue Maintenance and Repair

The cells of the mammalian immune system do more than just fight off pathogens; they are also important players in stem cell function and are thus crucial for maintaining homeostasis and recovering from injury.

Jun 30, 2016
Jeff Biernaskie, Sarthak Sinha, Waleed Rahmani

BRAIN

As new neurons differentiate from neural stem cells in the hippocampus, T cells and microglia are recruited to the neurogenic site. Following injury, macrophages stimulate remyelination of neurons.

© IKUMI KAYAMA/STUDIO KAYAMA

MAMMARY GLANDS

During puberty, as hormones trigger the maturation of the rudimentary mammary ducts, macrophages and other immune cells migrate to the ducts’ tips, where they support rapid proliferation and duct branching.

© IKUMI KAYAMA/STUDIO KAYAMA

MUSCLE

Following an acute injury to the skeletal muscle, local and infiltrating immune cells remove damaged tissue, while T cells help spur the generation of new muscle cells.

© IKUMI KAYAMA/STUDIO KAYAMA

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