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Immunology. 2003 Mar;108(3):365-74.

Macrophages exposed to Mycobacterium tuberculosis release chemokines able to recruit selected leucocyte subpopulations: focus on gammadelta cells.

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Laboratory of Tumour Immunology, Università Vita e Salute, Scientific Institute H San Raffaele, Via Olgettina 60, I-20132 Milan, Italy.


Granuloma is a typical feature of tuberculosis. We evaluated the chemotaxis of selected human leucocyte subsets induced by macrophages incubated with Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MT)-derived products in vitro. The release of monocyte chemotactic protein 1 (MCP-1) and interleukin-8 (IL-8) correlated with the specific induction of strong chemotaxis towards monocytes and polymorphonuclear leucocytes (PMNs). gammadelta and T helper type 1 (Th1) alphabeta lymphocytes were chemoattracted, while T-resting, IL-2-activated and Th2 lymphocytes were unaffected. Activation with mycobacterium-derived, phosphate-containing components, modulated the chemokine receptor profile of gammadelta T lymphocytes as well as their pattern of cyto-chemokine production, disclosing a potential for their active participation in granuloma formation. In particular, CXCR3 and IP-10, which we found to be released by MT-pulsed alveolar macrophages, seem to represent the receptor-counter-receptor pair implicated in the chemotaxis of gammadelta lymphocytes. Immunohistochemical analysis and in situ hybridization revealed the in vivo presence of IL-8, MCP-1 and IL-10 in lymph node and lung tuberculous granulomas. Our results underscore the role of MT extracts in the induction of macrophage-derived chemokines responsible for the orchestrated recruitment of PMNs, monocytes, and Th1 and gammadelta T cells, as well as in the regulation of gammadelta function.

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