Volunteer for NIAID-funded clinical studies related to tuberculosis on ClinicalTrials.gov.
To fight tuberculosis, the body’s white blood cells secrete a protein called interferon gamma (INF-γ). Patients who are deficient in INF-γ suffer severe TB infections, suggesting that this protein helps slow the growth of the disease-causing pathogen, Mycobacterium tuberculosis. In this study, researchers found that endothelial and epithelial cells must respond to INF-γ to protect mice against infection. These cells respond to INF-γ by triggering a set of reactions that inhibit the production of Th17 cells, which contribute to inflammation. This discovery could lead to new treatments that target endothelial and epithelial cells and in turn, help to control tissue damage resulting from inflammation. Since this research illuminates a new mechanism of the immune system, it is possible that the findings could also be used to help develop therapeutics to control other diseases, such as autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis, asthma, and lupus.
Desvignes, L and Ernst, JD. Interferon- γ-Responsive Nonhematopoietic Cells Regulate the Immune Response to Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Immunity. 31: 1-12. December 18, 2009.
Last Updated March 01, 2010