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Image of the Month: Tunneling NanoTubes and macrophage communication.

Tunneling NanoTubes (TNT). TNT are membrane channels that contain actin and microtubules and function to transfer material between cells, including cellular organelles such as mitochondria and endosomes. Shown here are electron micrographs illustrating the transfer of silica nanoparticles between cells at three magnification levels taken with the Hitachi SU8230 Scanning Electron Microscope. The sharing of nanoparticles between cells enables rapid dispersion of therapeutic cargo, such as molecular signals, and immune modulators for synchronized signaling and enhanced signal propagation. Photo courtesy of Dr. Rita Serda.

Tunneling NanoTubes (TNT). TNT are membrane channels that contain actin and microtubules and function to transfer material between cells, including cellular organelles such as mitochondria and endosomes. Shown here are electron micrographs illustrating the transfer of silica nanoparticles between cells at three magnification levels taken with the Hitachi SU8230 Scanning Electron Microscope. The sharing of nanoparticles between cells enables rapid dispersion of therapeutic cargo, such as molecular signals, and immune modulators for synchronized signaling and enhanced signal propagation.
Photo courtesy of Dr. Rita Serda.

Macrophages, gatekeepers of tissue integrity,  are able to communicate at a distance through cellular connections coined Tunneling NanoTubes, membrane channels that contain actin and microtubules and function to transfer material between cells, including cellular organelles such as mitochondria and endosomes.  Shown here are electron micrographs illustrating the transfer of silica nanoparticles between cells at three magnification levels  taken with the Hitachi SU8230 Scanning Electron Microscope.  The sharing of nanoparticles between cells enables rapid dispersion of therapeutic cargo, such as molecular signals, and immune modulators for synchronized signaling and enhanced signal propagation.  The research team of Dr. Rita Serda, associate professor of surgical research at Baylor College of Medicine is using nanoparticles to activate dendritic cells to stimulate cancer specific immune responses and to modulate the immune phenotype of the tumor microenvironment.  Image courtesy of Dr. Serda

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