Chaos in bodily regulation can optimize our immune system according to a recent discovery.
The discovery, made by researchers at the University of Copenhagen’s Niels Bohr Institute, may prove to be of great significance for avoiding serious diseases such as cancer and diabetes.
Above, an icon of chaos theory – the Lorenz attractor. Credit wikimedia
Wide gaps exist in our understanding of how the immune system works and how we might avoid diseases such as cancer and diabetes. Now, two researchers at the University of Copenhagen’s Niels Bohr Institute have made a discovery that could prove to be an important piece of the puzzle. PhD Mathias Heltberg and Professor Mogens Høgh Jensen have found an entirely new mechanism in the way that bodily cells regulate themselves – through chaos.
The researchers investigated how a particular protein produced within cells, NF-kB, stimulates genes. Among other things, this particular protein is vital for maintaining the body’s immune defense system and thereby, the body’s ability to combat disease. The concentration of NF-kB fluctuates over time, and these swings impact the genes and subsequently, the condition of cells.
source University of Copenhagen