Addressing diversity in tuberculosis using multidimensional approaches.

Lerm, M; Dockrell, HM; (2018) Addressing diversity in tuberculosis using multidimensional approaches. Journal of internal medicine. ISSN 0954-6820 DOI:

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Tuberculosis is a complex disease, which can affect many organs other than the lungs. Initial infection may be cleared without inducing immunological memory, or progress directly to primary disease. Alternatively, the infection may be controlled as latent TB infection, that may progress to active tuberculosis at a later stage. There is now a greater understanding that these infection states are part of a continuum, and studies using PET/CT imaging have shown that individual lung granulomas may respond to infection independently, in an un-synchronised manner. In addition, the Mycobacterium tuberculosis organisms themselves can exist in different states: as non-culturable forms, as "persisters", as rapidly growing bacteria and a biofilm-forming cording phenotype. The "omics" approaches of transcriptomics, metabolomics and proteomics can help reveal the mechanisms underlying these different infection states in the host, and identify biosignatures with diagnostic potential, that can predict the development of disease, in "progressors" as early as 12-18 months before it can be detected cliniclally, or that can monitor the success of anti-TB therapy. Further insights can be obtained from studies of BCG vaccination and new TB vaccines. For example, epigenetic changes associated with trained immunity and a stronger immune responses following BCG vaccination can be identified. These omics approaches may be particularly valuable when linked to studies of mycobacterial growth inhibition, as a direct read-out of the ability to control mycobacterial growth. The second generation of omics studies are identifying much smaller signatures based on as few as 3 or 4 genes. Thus, narrowing down omics-derived biosignatures to a manageable set of markers now opens the way to field-friendly point of care assays. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Item Type: Article
Faculty and Department: Academic Services & Administration > Academic Administration
Research Centre: TB Centre
PubMed ID: 29804295


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