Neutrophils, the most abundant cells of the immune system, are specialized for each organ of the body and help to meet the specialized needs of each of them. This has been revealed by the study of the National Center for Cardiovascular Research in which the Mathematical Oncology Laboratory (MOLAB) of the University of Castilla-La Mancha has participated.

A work in which the researcher from the Regional University Gabriel Fernández has developed mathematical models that have made it possible to quantify the characteristic times of neutrophil functionality. Thus participating in a finding that opens up new therapeutic possibilities for the treatment of multiple diseases, like cancer, since according to the professor “there is more and more evidence that neutrophils can play an important role as co-facilitators of metastasis formation”.

The UCLM Laboratory of Mathematical Oncology has contributed to this study with the development of mathematical models based on differential equations that were able to quantify the different half-lives of neutrophils from their formation in the bone marrow to their migration, through the blood, to other organs where they can become established.

Said models, according to Fernández, “were key to show that the complex kinetics that neutrophils follow allows them to reside in different tissues for significantly longer times than in blood, something that to date had not been proven. “

The investigation has aimed determine the half-lives of neutrophils, an open problem in Immunology. Furthermore, the work has made it possible to characterize the acquisition of various phenotypic and functional properties depending on which tissue the neutrophils occupy, to identify new signaling routes between tissues that modify the adaptability of the neutrophils and to observe new purely defensive tasks.

For the experimental development of the study, the researchers used murine models (mice) from which samples of bone marrow, blood and various tissues (lung, spleen, intestine, liver and skin) were extracted that were subsequently analyzed by flow cytometry and scRNA and transcriptomic sequencing techniques.