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Clin Immunol. 2006 Dec;121(3):260-4. Epub 2006 Oct 16.

Does sphingosine 1-phosphate play a protective role in the course of pulmonary tuberculosis?

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  • 1Department of Biology, University of Rome Tor Vergata Via della Ricerca Scientifica-00133, Rome, Italy.


Sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P) has recently been reported to induce antimycobacterial activity in vitro and in a mouse model of in vivo Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection. However, its role in the course of pulmonary tuberculosis in humans is still not known. This study shows that S1P levels in airway surface fluid of tuberculosis (TB) patients are significantly less than those observed in non-TB control patients. Moreover, the in vitro stimulation of bronchoalveolar lavage cells coming from TB patients with S1P significantly reduces intracellular growth of endogenous mycobacterial isolates. These results show that, in the course of pulmonary TB, airway epithelial fluid-associated S1P may play a protective role in the containment of intracellular mycobacterial growth and that its decrease may represent a novel pathogenic mechanism through which M. tuberculosis favors its replication.

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