Abstract: An efficient and effective immune system is critical to good health. For this, both local and long-distance signalling are necessary for communication amongst cells. Cytokines are small proteins expressed by blood cells and other key organs that act to up- or down-regulate key processes within the immune system. The sheer number of cell/cytokine interactions complicates our ability to understand, at a broad scale, the totality of relationships within the immune system, and the pathophysiology of acute and chronic immune disorders. A central challenge is translating observational understanding (patient symptoms, measurements of biomarkers etc.) to the mechanistic and causal. To begin to unravel the complexity of immune responses, we applied a collection of novel quantitative techniques and models to a rare blood disorder called cyclic thrombocytopenia. Our results help to rectify the transmission of signals in the immune system both cell-to-cell and distally, refining our understanding of how immune responses are mounted. This is helpful pre-clinically and clinically for designing improved therapies and novel diagnostic tools, and establishing effective therapeutic schedules to help treat disease.
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