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Piercing the cell

A team of scientists has been carefully studying changes over time in one type of immune cell – known as a T helper 17 or Th17 cell. Their analysis led them to an unlikely suspect in the study of autoimmune diseases: salt.

In this video, seven team members from the Broad Institute’s Klarman Cell Observatory, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, MIT, and Harvard University describe how their approach led them to this unexpected result.

Photo and footage credits: MS brain scan courtesy of Philip Dr Jager; Hands Xray showing advanced rheumatoid arthritis courtesy of ©; IBD illustration courtesy of Janet Iwasa and Bang Wong; Th17 cell footage, courtesy ofDomingues H, Mues M, Lassmann H, Wekerle H, Krishnamoorthy G [CC-BY-2.5 (], via Wikimedia Commons; Multicolored Th17 cells images courtesy of Sigrid Knemeyer, Broad Communications; Silicon nanowire SEMs courtesy of Jellert Gaublomme, Alex Shalek, and Nir Yosef; Mouse image courtesy of Linda Bartlett, National Cancer Institute; Poured out Salt image courtesy of ©; Gemini South Startrails Timelapse footage courtesy of Gemini Observatory/Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy