1887

Abstract

The persistence of tuberculosis within pulmonary granulomatous lesions is a complex phenomenon, with bacterial survival occurring in a focal region of high immune activity. In part, the survival of the organism may be linked to the ability of the surface glycolipid trehalose 6,6′-dimycolate (TDM; cord factor) to inhibit fusion events between phospholipid vesicles inside the host macrophage. At the same time, TDM contributes to macrophage activation and a cascade of events required for initiation and maintenance of granulomatous responses. This allows increased sequestration of organisms and further survival and persistence within host tissues. Bacterial viability, macrophage cytokine and chemokine response, and intracellular trafficking were investigated in from which TDM had been removed. Removal of surface lipids led to enhanced trafficking of organisms to acidic compartments; reconstitution of delipidated organisms with either pure TDM or the petroleum ether extract containing crude surface lipids restored normal responses. Use of TDM-coated polystyrene beads demonstrated that TDM can mediate intracellular trafficking events, as well as influence macrophage production of pro-inflammatory molecules. Thus, the presence of TDM may be an important determinant for successful infection and survival of within macrophages.

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2003-08-01
2020-04-02
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