US Pharm. 2013;38(1):HS-18.
According to a study led by researchers
at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC and the University of
Pittsburgh (Pitt) School of Medicine, the presence of a certain
molecule, called CXCR5, allows the immune system to effectively police
tuberculosis (TB) of the lungs and prevent progression into a deadly
infection. Their findings appeared on January 3 in the online version
of the Journal of Clinical Investigation.
For the NIH-funded study, the
researchers studied human TB-infected cells as well animal models. They
found that granulomas with ectopic lymphoid structures are associated
with effective suppression of TB, and that granulomas that do not
contain them are associated with active TB. They also learned that
immune cells, called T cells, that had the surface marker CXCR5 molecule were associated with the presence of these protective ectopic lymphoid structures.
“The protective power of CXCR5 points us
in a novel direction for future management of TB,” said senior author
Shabaana A. Khader, PhD, assistant professor of pediatrics, Pitt School
“These findings have powerful implications for the development of vaccines to prevent infection.”