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Dr Laura Gleeson and co-authors publish findings that uncover a role for immunometabolism in the host response to tuberculosis.

Researchers in the Department of Clinical Medicine have this week published findings that uncover a role for immunometabolism in the host response to tuberculosis (TB). TB kills 1.3 million people per year globally, and long duration of current antibiotic regimens and the growing incidence of multiple drug resistant (MDR) TB means that new approaches to therapy are desperately needed. Elucidating the host immune response to TB in order to develop new 'host-directed' therapies is an international priority in terms of TB research.

Dr Laura Gleeson, Clinical Research Fellow / Respiratory Specialist Registrar, under the supervision of Professor Joe Keane and alongside the TB Immunology Research Group in the Institute of Molecular Medicine (IMM) in St James's Hospital, has demonstrated that Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection induces an alteration in alveolar macrophage glucose metabolism that is vital for the production of the pro-inflammatory cytokine interleukin-1β (IL-1β), and subsequent early clearance of the bacillus. These findings, published in the Journal of Immunology this week, open the door for the investigation and development of metabolically-targeted agents as potential host-directed therapies for TB.

Dr Gleeson's work is funded through a Health Professionals Fellowship awarded by the Health Research Board (HRB) and through the Royal City of Dublin Hospital Trust. It is made possible through collaboration with the Dublin Centre for Clinical Research (DCCR), and the generosity of St James's Hospital patients undergoing routine bronchoscopy, who facilitate the acquisition of bronchoalveolar lavage samples for use in research.

The paper 'Cutting Edge: Mycobacterium tuberculosis induces aerobic glycolysis in human alveolar macrophages that is required for control of intracellular bacillary replication' is published in the Journal of Immunology. Link to journal here The Journal of Immunology