Scientists have discovered that the spleen, long consigned to the B-list of abdominal organs and known as much for its metaphoric as its physiological value, plays a more important role in the body’s defense system than anyone suspected.
Reporting in the current issue of the journal Science, researchers describe studies showing that the spleen is a reservoir for huge numbers of immune cells called monocytes, and that in the event of a serious trauma to the body like a heart attack, gashing wound or microbial invasion, the spleen will disgorge those monocyte multitudes into the bloodstream to tackle the crisis. “The parallel in military terms is a standing army,” said an author of the report. “You don’t want to have to recruit an entire fighting force from the ground up every time you need it.”“Often, if you come across something in the body that seems like a big deal, you think, ‘Why didn’t anybody check this before?’ ” Dr. Nahrendorf said.
“But the more you learn, the more you realize that we’re just scratching on the surface of life. We don’t know the whole story about anything.”
Storyteller: Dr Matthias Nahrendorf, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School
Source : Finally, the Spleen Gets Some Respect
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