So you get a cut – ouch! – and you put a band-aid on it, but first, you make sure you disinfect it with hydrogen peroxide. It gets all fizzy and then it’s cleaner, right? Ever wonder how that works? Well, some fish researchers have found out that hydrogen peroxide is like a fire alarm for white blood cells:
Teams of white blood cells quickly responded to the chemical signal from the hydrogen peroxide and came to repair the damage.
“We’ve known for quite some time that when the body is wounded, white blood cells show up, and it’s really a spectacular piece of biology because these cells detect the wound at some distance,” said Timothy Mitchison, a professor of systems biology at Harvard Medical School.
“We do know something about what summons white blood cells to areas that are chronically inflamed, but in the case of an isolated physical wound, we haven’t really known what the signal is.”