Dying cells send "farewell messages", which update the body

The cellular composition of the body is constantly updated. The daily planned death of millions of cells, not associated with disease or damage, is called apoptosis - it accounts for 90% of all cell deaths. A key role in apoptosis belongs to the enzymes of caspase, which perform the function of "shredders": they finely "chink" all the proteins inside the cell, including nucleotides in DNA. When there are no whole structures left inside the cell, immunity representatives are included - macrophages that digest doomed cells.

Despite the fact that the process of apoptosis has been well studied until recently it was unclear how macrophages get information about doomed cells. Scientists at the University of Virginia (USA) have discovered metabolites at act as chemical messages for macrophages.

It was found that when cells die, six kinds of molecules are released, which are "captured" by macrophages and tell the eating cells the right route. Having received these messages, macrophages also activate the work of genes, responsible for tissue restoration: simultaneously with the process of destruction of old material the process of creation of new one is started. 

It turned out that individually each of these molecules doesn't affect the processes of regeneration: only a pattern of half a dozen chemical components can make the genes work for regeneration. It also turned out that the post mortem cocktail of metabolites suppresses inflammation in the areas adjacent to the dead cell: three out of six farewell molecules were responsible for the anti-inflammatory effect. 

Thus, it turned out that cells that die as a result of apoptosis are not the ballast waiting to be removed, and become the sources of a kind of "elixir of renewal" - a substance that can activate recovery and fight inflammation. Experts believe that studying this mechanism opens new horizons in the fight against disease and aging. 

March 20, 2020, 3:57 p.m.

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