Nav: Home

Biological fingerprint of tuberculosis meningitis discovered in children

June 21, 2017

Children with tuberculosis meningitis - a brain and spinal cord infection that leads to disability and death -- have a biological fingerprint that can be used to assess the severity of the condition, help decide the best course of treatment, and provide clues for novel treatments, scientists at the Francis Crick Institute, Imperial College London and the University of Cape Town reveal.

By comparing the blood and spinal cord fluid of 44 children with tuberculosis meningitis (TBM) and 20 patients with other spinal cord disorders, the team identified a set of biological markers elevated in TBM. The most common markers indicate damage of neurons and neuron-supporting cells, and their presence in the bloodstream and spinal cord can help to determine disease progression. The research, funded by Wellcome, is published in the journal of Clinical Infectious Diseases.

In the study, the children that developed severe disabilities or died from TBM had the highest levels of these biological markers, and the levels increased over time, suggesting that this information could be used to help predict disease outcome.

"This is the first time that anyone has found a set of biological markers for TBM," says Robert Wilkinson, Group Leader at the Crick and Imperial College London, and Director of the Wellcome Centre for Infectious Diseases Research in Africa at the University of Cape Town.

TBM is caused by a bacterium known as Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Infection normally begins in the lungs as TB and can spread to the brain and spinal cord, causing swelling and restricting blood flow. Several thousand young children die of TBM every year, and many more are left severely disabled.

Whilst the immune response to TBM sets up some of the damage, this new research suggests that markers of ongoing neuronal injury are more predictive of disease severity than markers of immune response.

"In the future, doctors could test their patients for these markers and use them to make better prognoses and decide on the right treatment strategy for the individual," says Robert. "In addition, we have greater knowledge of this historically neglected condition."

The paper 'Biomarkers of cerebral injury and inflammation in pediatric tuberculous meningitis' is published in Clinical Infectious Diseases.
-end-


The Francis Crick Institute

Related Immune Response Articles:

Discovering the early age immune response in foals
Researchers at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine have discovered a new method to measure tiny amounts of antibodies in foals, a finding described in the May 16 issue of PLOS ONE.
Nixing the cells that nix immune response against cancer
For first time, study characterizes uptick of myeloid-derived suppressor cells in the spleens of human cancer patients, paving the way for therapies directed against these cells that collude with cancer.
Jumbled chromosomes may dampen the immune response to tumors
How well a tumor responds to immunotherapy may depend in part on whether its chromosomes are intact or in a state of disarray, a new study reports.
Tailored organoid may help unravel immune response mystery
Cornell and Weill Cornell Medicine researchers report on the use of biomaterials-based organoids in an attempt to reproduce immune-system events and gain a better understanding of B cells.
Tweaking the immune response might be a key to combat neurodegeneration
Patients with Alzheimer's or other neurodegenerative diseases progressively loose neurons yet cannot build new ones.
Estrogen signaling impacted immune response in cancer
New research from The Wistar Institute showed that estrogen signaling was responsible for immunosuppressive effects in the tumor microenvironment across cancer types.
No platelets, no immune response
When a virus attacks our organism, an inflammation appears on the affected area.
Malaria: A genetically attenuated parasite induces an immune response
With nearly 3.2 billion people currently at risk of contracting malaria, scientists from the Institut Pasteur, the CNRS and Inserm have experimentally developed a live, genetically attenuated vaccine for Plasmodium, the parasite responsible for the disease.
New finding will help target MS immune response
Researchers have made another important step in the progress towards being able to block the development of multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune diseases.
Flu infection reveals many paths to immune response
A new study of influenza infection in an animal model broadens understanding of how the immune system responds to flu virus, showing that the process is more dynamic than usually described, engaging a broader array of biological pathways.

Related Immune Response Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Digital Manipulation
Technology has reshaped our lives in amazing ways. But at what cost? This hour, TED speakers reveal how what we see, read, believe — even how we vote — can be manipulated by the technology we use. Guests include journalist Carole Cadwalladr, consumer advocate Finn Myrstad, writer and marketing professor Scott Galloway, behavioral designer Nir Eyal, and computer graphics researcher Doug Roble.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#529 Do You Really Want to Find Out Who's Your Daddy?
At least some of you by now have probably spit into a tube and mailed it off to find out who your closest relatives are, where you might be from, and what terrible diseases might await you. But what exactly did you find out? And what did you give away? In this live panel at Awesome Con we bring in science writer Tina Saey to talk about all her DNA testing, and bioethicist Debra Mathews, to determine whether Tina should have done it at all. Related links: What FamilyTreeDNA sharing genetic data with police means for you Crime solvers embraced...