We've updated our Privacy Policy to make it clearer how we use your personal data.

We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. You can read our Cookie Policy here.

Advertisement
Unexpected Role for Immune Cells in Early TB Infection
News

Unexpected Role for Immune Cells in Early TB Infection

Unexpected Role for Immune Cells in Early TB Infection
News

Unexpected Role for Immune Cells in Early TB Infection

Innate lymphoid cells (green) near and within a small area of inflammation, or granuloma, in a non-human primate infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacteria that cause tuberculosis (TB). Credit: NIAID.
Read time:
 

Want a FREE PDF version of This News Story?

Complete the form below and we will email you a PDF version of "Unexpected Role for Immune Cells in Early TB Infection"

First Name*
Last Name*
Email Address*
Country*
Company Type*
Job Function*
Would you like to receive further email communication from Technology Networks?

Technology Networks Ltd. needs the contact information you provide to us to contact you about our products and services. You may unsubscribe from these communications at any time. For information on how to unsubscribe, as well as our privacy practices and commitment to protecting your privacy, check out our Privacy Policy

A class of immune cells called innate lymphoid cells (ILCs) mediates the body’s initial defense against tuberculosis (TB), according to a report published online today in Nature. Boosting this response may provide a new approach to developing treatments and vaccines against TB, which causes more deaths worldwide than any other single infectious disease. The research was supported in part by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), a component of the National Institutes of Health.  It was conducted by scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis in collaboration with scientists at the Africa Health Research Institute in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, and other institutions.

Identified only in the past decade, ILCs can initiate quick, nonspecific responses against pathogens and also mount protective immune responses directed against specific pathogens. In this study, researchers observed that among people who were infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb), the bacterium that causes TB, a subset of ILCs moved from the blood to the lungs, where TB infections frequently take hold.


Investigators also tracked the activity of ILCs in several animal models. In mice with intact immune systems, ILCs homed to infected lung tissue and used messenger molecules to recruit the scavenger cells of the immune system, macrophages (link is external), to form protective granulomas, or small areas of inflammation, to suppress the infection. Mice without functioning ILCs, however, had low levels of macrophages in lung tissue and poor immune control over their TB. The human and animal data led investigators to conclude that ILCs play an early, pivotal and previously unappreciated role in TB immunity.


Increasingly, Mtb is resistant to conventional antibiotic treatments. While the Bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccine can prevent Mtb infection in infants and young children, no vaccine is approved to prevent TB in older children and adults. Because ILCs seem to protect early in TB disease, investigators suggest that probing the newly described pathway may yield novel approaches to TB treatment and prevention.

Reference
A Ardain et al. Group 3 innate lymphoid cells mediate early protective immunity against tuberculosis. Nature DOI: 10.1038/s41586-019-1276-2 (2019).

This article has been republished from the following materials. Note: material may have been edited for length and content. For further information, please contact the cited source.

Advertisement