Consistent with this finding,

Balboa et al [21] report t

Consistent with this finding,

Balboa et al. [21] report that p38 is hyperphosphorylated in CD16+ monocytes from TB patients, which may explain their reduced capacity to differentiate into DCs. In more general terms, the higher frequency of CD16+ monocytes observed in TB patients still has to be understood because high CD16 frequency is also characteristic of other infectious and noninfectious inflammatory conditions. On the one hand, it would be of interest to examine whether the shift in the monocyte population toward a CD16+ subset, along with the hyperactivation of p38 MAPK, might be dependent on the RD-1 (region of difference-1) virulence locus [28]. Indeed, studies selleck products may be carried out using nonpathogenic mycobacteria strains (e.g., Mycobacterium bovis bacille Calmette-Guerin) or mutants lacking this region (i.e., H37∆RD1). On the other

hand, the predominance of the CD16+ monocyte subset in inflammatory conditions might rather reflect a host-driven protective response to limit the immunopathology caused by (chronic) infectious agents such as M. tuberculosis. Factors such as transforming growth factor TGF-β, known to induce CD16+ monocyte differentiation, are usually involved in the immunomodulation responses by the host to preserve tissue integrity. Interestingly, TGF-β is increased in the blood of TB patients [29, 30]. Based on the findings reported by Balboa et al. [21], it is tempting to conclude that CD16+ monocytes might be a cause for TB susceptibility rather than a consequence of it. To test this hypothesis, studies using in vivo depletion models [31] will be required to understand whether Ly6C+ monocytes, the equivalent to human CD16+ monocytes in the mouse, play a detrimental or beneficial role during TB. If their prominence in TB infection results in a significant decrease in the numbers

of DCs with the ability to efficiently activate adaptive immunity, then it might be predicted that the depletion of CD16+ monocytes would trigger a better T-cell response and better clearance of M. tuberculosis in infected hosts. By contrast, if CD16+ monocytes are essential to the generation of regulatory cells to protect against immunopathology, Montelukast Sodium then TB will result in lung tissue injury from uncontrolled inflammation in their absence. Whether or not any of the implications discussed above hold true, what is certain is that the current report by Balboa et al. [20] has brought us a step closer to solve the enigma of how M. tuberculosis impairs the Ag presentation process, and is likely to yield new avenues of investigation in monocyte development and the signaling pathways involved in their activation. We thank D. Hudrisier for critical evaluation of this manuscript.

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