Microbiological Services

Salisbury, United Kingdom

Microbiological Services

Salisbury, United Kingdom
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Thom R.E.,Microbiological Services | Elmore M.J.,Microbiological Services | Williams A.,Microbiological Services | Andrews S.C.,University of Reading | And 3 more authors.
Vaccine | Year: 2012

Iron is an essential cofactor for both mycobacterial growth during infection and for a successful protective immune response by the host. The immune response partly depends on the regulation of iron by the host, including the tight control of expression of the iron-storage protein, ferritin. BCG vaccination can protect against disease following Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection, but the mechanisms of protection remain unclear. To further explore these mechanisms, splenocytes from BCG-vaccinated guinea pigs were stimulated ex vivo with purified protein derivative from M. tuberculosis and a significant down-regulation of ferritin light- and heavy-chain was measured by reverse-transcription quantitative-PCR (P≤0.05 and ≤0.01, respectively). The mechanisms of this down-regulation were shown to involve TNFα and nitric oxide. A more in depth analysis of the mRNA expression profiles, including genes involved in iron metabolism, was performed using a guinea pig specific immunological microarray following ex vivo infection with M. tuberculosis of splenocytes from BCG-vaccinated and naïve guinea pigs. M. tuberculosis infection induced a pro-inflammatory response in splenocytes from both groups, resulting in down-regulation of ferritin (P≤0.05). In addition, lactoferrin (P≤0.002), transferrin receptor (P≤0.05) and solute carrier family 11A1 (P≤0.05), were only significantly down-regulated after infection of the splenocytes from BCG-vaccinated animals. The results show that expression of iron-metabolism genes is tightly regulated as part of the host response to M. tuberculosis infection and that BCG-vaccination enhances the ability of the host to mount an iron-restriction response which may in turn help to combat invasion by mycobacteria. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.


Iron is an essential cofactor for both mycobacterial growth during infection and for a successful protective immune response by the host. The immune response partly depends on the regulation of iron by the host, including the tight control of expression of the iron-storage protein, ferritin. BCG vaccination can protect against disease following Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection, but the mechanisms of protection remain unclear. To further explore these mechanisms, splenocytes from BCG-vaccinated guinea pigs were stimulated ex vivo with purified protein derivative from M. tuberculosis and a significant down-regulation of ferritin light- and heavy-chain was measured by reverse-transcription quantitative-PCR (P0.05 and 0.01, respectively). The mechanisms of this down-regulation were shown to involve TNF and nitric oxide. A more in depth analysis of the mRNA expression profiles, including genes involved in iron metabolism, was performed using a guinea pig specific immunological microarray following ex vivo infection with M. tuberculosis of splenocytes from BCG-vaccinated and nave guinea pigs. M. tuberculosis infection induced a pro-inflammatory response in splenocytes from both groups, resulting in down-regulation of ferritin (P0.05). In addition, lactoferrin (P0.002), transferrin receptor (P0.05) and solute carrier family 11A1 (P0.05), were only significantly down-regulated after infection of the splenocytes from BCG-vaccinated animals. The results show that expression of iron-metabolism genes is tightly regulated as part of the host response to M. tuberculosis infection and that BCG-vaccination enhances the ability of the host to mount an iron-restriction response which may in turn help to combat invasion by mycobacteria.

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