Universiteit Leiden

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Research project

Spreading the Fire: Why is Pyroptotic Cell Death Contagious?

The word ¨pyroptosis¨ can be understood as ¨fiery falling¨, which describes the bursting of pro-inflammatory signals from the dying cell. Our observations indicate that pyroptosis also ¨spreads like wildfire¨ and once a cell dies via pyroptotic cell death, neighbouring cells are more prone to die as well, but why?

Open Competition Domain Science - XS Open Competition Domain Science - XS


Pyroptotic cell death is involved in many infectious and non-infectious life-threatening diseases. A common feature among these diseases is that, due to the aggressiveness of the inflammatory reaction produced around pyroptotic cells, they are all difficult to treat. Our observations suggest that cells around pyroptotic cells are more prone to die, yet there is currently no evidence for `contagious pyroptosis´. This project aims to discover the mechanism behind this chain reaction. This research could transform our understanding of how neighbouring cells respond to pyroptotic cell death and could shed light on new strategies for the treatment of inflammatory diseases. 

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