London: Scientists have stumbled on the presence of neutrophils in the spleen, located on the opposite side of the liver, even without an infection.
Neutrophils are the so-called cleaning cells that are the first be present at an infection site after migrating there to destroy invading pathogens.
Researchers noticed that the existence of neutrophils in the spleen started when the foetus is developing, even when no infectious process is involved. This was not known in scientific literature.
Until now, scientists deemed neutrophils lowly soldiers that simply restricted infection, preparing the ground for other immune cells to permanently eradicate an infection.
The research group of IMIM (Hospital del Mar Research Institute), Spain and their counterparts from Mount Sinai in New York, determined that neutrophils have an immunoregulating role -- regulating the body`s response to infections.
"This study has revealed that neutrophils are found in the spleen without there being an infection, contributing new knowledge in the field of biology" IMIM research group coordinator Andrea Cerutti explained.
This finding improves the understanding of the mechanisms with which our immune system protects us against an infection, an essential requirement to better control all pathologies linked to it.