Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the pathogen that causes pulmonary tuberculosis (TB) in humans, has evolved to delay T cell responses in the lung following infection. Although the mechanisms for this is not well known, it is well known that dendritic cells are critical to the activation of T cell responses. In a study published in The Journal of Immunology, PhD student Rocky Lai and his team within Dr. Zhou Xing’s lab focus on understanding how two distinct dendritic cell populations in the lung, CD11b+ DC and CD103+ DC, are involved in the activation of T cells needed to control TB. They found was while CD11b+ DC are required for activation of M.tb-specific T cell responses, CD103+ DC impair this response through the production of an immunosuppressive cytokine called IL-10. This study presents implications that can better explain delayed T cell responses in TB infections, and could provide potential targets for downstream therapeutic applications.
Read the full publication in The Journal of Immunology.