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Discovery & Development Drug Discovery, Drug Delivery

When Noses Counterattack

Each breath we take gives bacteria the opportunity to infiltrate our airways. Fortunately, our noses have their own effective mechanisms of defense. Researchers at Massachusetts Eye and Ear claim to have observed, for the first time, cells in the front of the nose detecting pathogenic bacteria in the nasal cavity. In response to bacteria, the cells release swarms of exosomes into the nasal mucus to attack invading microbes. “This is one of the only examples where the immune system actually extends outside the body (in this case into the airway) to fight off bacteria,” says Benjamin Bleier, Associate Professor of Otolaryngology at Massachusetts Eye and Ear and senior author of a new study (1). “The detection of lipopolysaccharide molecular signatures in pathogenic bacteria triggers increased numbers of exosomes, packaged with antimicrobial molecules, to be released.”

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Maryam Mahdi

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