IMIM: "Immune cell provides cradle for mammary stem cells"

IMIM: "Immune cell provides cradle for mammary stem cells"

News from IMIM

An international research project, with the participation of Toni Celià-Terrassa from IMIM, found that macrophages play an important role in maintaining the mammary gland’s stem cell niche, a sort of nursery for the precursors of milk-producing cells in the breast. Macrophages, a type of white blood cell whose name translates to “big eater” because it fights infection by engulfing and digesting foreign invaders, help create a special environment, known as a stem-cell niche. The macrophages keep stem cells in their premature state and able to duplicate and differentiate into mature cells when needed. 

"If cells that initiate cancer depend on this mechanism, it would be a very good therapeutic target to study, a fact that would be very important in the fight against this disease " explains Celià-Terrassa. “Learning more about the factors that keep mammary stem cells alive and healthy may provide insights into the development of breast cancer when such regulation goes awry,” said Yibin Kang, Professor of at Princeton University and an associate director of the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, who led the international team that made the discovery. “Our study establishes macrophages as important components of the mammary stem cell niche,” he said. Carlos Sierra / PRBB

Reference article:
Rumela Chakrabarti, Toni Celià-Terrassa, Sushil Kumar, Xiang Hang, Yong Wei, Abrar Choudhury, Julie Hwang, Jia Peng, Briana Nixon, John J Grady, Christina DeCoste, Jie Gao, Johan Van Es, Ming O. Li, Ioannis Aifantis, Hans Clevers, Yibin Kang. Notch ligand Dll1 mediates crosstalk between mammary stem cells and the macrophageal niche. Science

More information:
IMIM website (in Catalan)
Princenton University website (in English)