Immunomodulation in host-protective immune response against murine tuberculosis through regulation of the T regulatory cell function.
Tuberculosis, caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium tuberculosis, is characterized by an infection in lung and spleen. In the present study, we have elucidated the mechanism by which Mycobacterium indicus pranii renders protection in in vivo Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection. We observed that Mycobacterium indicus pranii treated infected C57BL/6 mice showed a strong host-protective Th1 immune response along with a marked decrease in immunosuppressive cytokines, TGF-β, and IL-10-secreting CD4(+) T cells. This Mycobacterium indicus pranii mediated decrease in immunosuppressive cytokines was correlated with the reduction in the elevated frequency of CD4(+)CD25(+) T regulatory cells, along with the reduced TGF-β production from these T regulatory cells in tuberculosis-infected mice. This reduction in the T regulatory cell population was a result of effective modulation of STAT4-STAT5 transcription factor counter-regulation by Mycobacterium indicus pranii, which in turn, reduced the immunosuppressive activity of T regulatory cells. Thus, these findings put forward a detailed mechanistic insight into Mycobacterium indicus pranii mediated regulation of the T regulatory cell functioning during experimental murine tuberculosis, which might be helpful in combating Mycobacterium-induced pathogenesis.