Monday, May 25, 2009

Tuberculosis can evade immune response !

As I have mentioned in my earlier blog, more than two million people worldwide die from tuberculosis infection every year. Due in part to inappropriate antibiotic usage, there are a rising number (0.5 million in 2007) of cases of multidrug-resistant (MDR-TB) and extensively drug-resistant (XDR-TB) tuberculosis. New therapies are needed to treat these dangerous infections. We are aware that immune responses to tuberculosis rarely result in complete eradication of the infection. Instead, TB-infected immune cells promote the generation of chronic inflammation and the formation of granulomas, which are areas where the bacteria are contained but not destroyed. These are the facts that encoucouraged Dr. Susanna Grundstrom Brighenti at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden, to examine the immune response in patients infected with tuberculosis. And this research is of great significance, since it is the first of its kind. The findings are really interesting and justify why the bacterium is getting resistance to the drugs. Following are the important conclusions by the researchers:

The immune cells responsible for killing the tuberculosis bacteria surrounded the granuloma, these cells had low levels of the molecules necessary to kill the TB. Instead, granulomas had high numbers of regulatory immune cells. These regulatory cells suppress the immune response, resulting in the survival of the tuberculosis bacteria and perhaps contributing to persistent long-term infection. Compartmentalization of the immune response in human TB could be part of the reason why infection is never completely eradicated but instead develops into a chronic disease. Congrats for the interesting findings and wish them further success in their future research...

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