Nav: Home

How damaging immune cells develop during tuberculosis

August 30, 2018

Insights into how harmful white blood cells form during tuberculosis infection point to novel targets for pharmacological interventions, according to a study published in the open-access journal PLOS Pathogens by Valentina Guerrini and Maria Laura Gennaro of Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, and colleagues.

Foam cells are a type of white blood cell, known as macrophages, that have accumulated fatty, waxy, or oily compounds called lipids. These cells contribute to maladaptive immune responses such as chronic inflammation and tissue damage in a variety of diseases. The formation of foam cells has been most thoroughly studied in the context of atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. During atherosclerosis, macrophages develop into foam cells by accumulating a waxy, fat-like substance called cholesterol. But it has been unclear how these cells form during chronic infectious diseases such as tuberculosis -- a contagious and often severe airborne disease caused by infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria.

Gennaro and colleagues provide evidence that foam cells in lung tissue from rabbits, non-human primates, and humans with tuberculosis form by primarily accumulating a type of fat called triglycerides, rather than cholesterol as seen in atherosclerosis. Moreover, triglyceride accumulation in human macrophages infected with M. tuberculosis is mediated by distinct signaling pathways from those associated with cholesterol storage in macrophages during atherosclerosis. The findings demonstrate that foam cells store different types of lipids and form through distinct mechanisms, depending on the disease.

According to the authors, the findings may have translational implications. For example, molecules involved in triglyceride synthesis may be used as novel biomarkers of progression to active tuberculosis. In addition, manipulating factors that affect macrophage lipid content might be an effective way to treat tuberculosis. Because many of these factors have been extensively studied in the context of cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and metabolic diseases, it may be possible to repurpose pharmacological compounds as therapies against tuberculosis. Such therapies may shorten the duration of antibiotic regimens and help restrict the emergence of antibiotic resistance.

"The finding that foam cells found in tuberculosis differ from those present in atherosclerosis," states Gennaro, "demonstrates that these dysfunctional cells, which are associated with many diseases, are generated through biological processes that differ from one disease to another."
-end-


PLOS

Related Tuberculosis Articles:

Blocking the iron transport could stop tuberculosis
The bacteria that cause tuberculosis need iron to survive. Researchers at the University of Zurich have now solved the first detailed structure of the transport protein responsible for the iron supply.
Tuberculosis: New insights into the pathogen
Researchers at the University of Würzburg and the Spanish Cancer Research Centre have gained new insights into the pathogen that causes tuberculosis.
Unmasking the hidden burden of tuberculosis in Mozambique
The real burden of tuberculosis is probably higher than estimated, according to a study on samples from autopsies performed in a Mozambican hospital.
HIV/tuberculosis co-infection: Tunneling towards better diagnosis
1.2 million people in the world are co-infected by the bacteria which causes tuberculosis and AIDS.
Reducing the burden of tuberculosis treatment
A research team led by MIT has developed a device that can lodge in the stomach and deliver antibiotics to treat tuberculosis, which they hope will make it easier to cure more patients and reduce health care costs.
Tuberculosis: Commandeering a bacterial 'suicide' mechanism
The bacteria responsible for tuberculosis can be killed by a toxin they produce unless it is neutralized by an antidote protein.
A copper bullet for tuberculosis
Tuberculosis is a sneaky disease, and the number one cause of death from infectious disease worldwide.
How damaging immune cells develop during tuberculosis
Insights into how harmful white blood cells form during tuberculosis infection point to novel targets for pharmacological interventions, according to a study published in the open-access journal PLOS Pathogens by Valentina Guerrini and Maria Laura Gennaro of Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, and colleagues.
How many people die from tuberculosis every year?
The estimates for global tuberculosis deaths by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) differ considerably for a dozen countries, according to a study led by ISGlobal.
Beyond killing tuberculosis
Historically, our view of host defense against infection was that we must eliminate pathogens to eradicate disease.
More Tuberculosis News and Tuberculosis Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Making Amends
What makes a true apology? What does it mean to make amends for past mistakes? This hour, TED speakers explore how repairing the wrongs of the past is the first step toward healing for the future. Guests include historian and preservationist Brent Leggs, law professor Martha Minow, librarian Dawn Wacek, and playwright V (formerly Eve Ensler).
Now Playing: Science for the People

#565 The Great Wide Indoors
We're all spending a bit more time indoors this summer than we probably figured. But did you ever stop to think about why the places we live and work as designed the way they are? And how they could be designed better? We're talking with Emily Anthes about her new book "The Great Indoors: The Surprising Science of how Buildings Shape our Behavior, Health and Happiness".
Now Playing: Radiolab

The Third. A TED Talk.
Jad gives a TED talk about his life as a journalist and how Radiolab has evolved over the years. Here's how TED described it:How do you end a story? Host of Radiolab Jad Abumrad tells how his search for an answer led him home to the mountains of Tennessee, where he met an unexpected teacher: Dolly Parton.Jad Nicholas Abumrad is a Lebanese-American radio host, composer and producer. He is the founder of the syndicated public radio program Radiolab, which is broadcast on over 600 radio stations nationwide and is downloaded more than 120 million times a year as a podcast. He also created More Perfect, a podcast that tells the stories behind the Supreme Court's most famous decisions. And most recently, Dolly Parton's America, a nine-episode podcast exploring the life and times of the iconic country music star. Abumrad has received three Peabody Awards and was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2011.