French scientists suggest a new method to reduce HIV in TB co-infection
In the world today, nearly 1.2 million people living with HIV are also co-infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis. It is well known that this combination is deadly: co-infection significantly complicates the process of diagnosis and treatment of patients, and also increases the pathogenicity of both agents.
An international group led by researchers from the Institute of Pharmacology and Structural Biology of Toulouse (France) and the Center for Pathophysiology Toulouse Purpan (Inserm) found that when a person with HIV-1 has tuberculosis, the virus moves from one cell to another using special nanotubes that form between macrophages. This method of moving strains significantly increases the percentage of infected cells. The results were published on Tuesday, March 26, in the journal Cell Reports.
Researchers have shown that macrophages in the human body with HIV co-infected with tuberculosis, when exposed to interleukin-10, are combined into nanotubes. The abundance of specific M-macrophages (IL-10) in the lungs correlates with the severity of the disease. HIV-1 strains pass through detected nanotubes, infecting neighboring cells and multiplying. Using various approaches to reduce their number, scientists were able to reduce the transmission of the virus between macrophages, thereby reducing the volume of "production" of HIV-1.
In cases of severe tuberculosis, the development of nanotubes between macrophages is accelerated. As a result, the number of HIV-infected cells increases markedly.
Since the presence of this particular type of macrophage can be measured, the diagnosis and treatment of patients suffering from both diseases can be facilitated.
According to experts, this study paves the way for new therapeutic approaches aimed at reducing the development of HIV in tuberculosis patients.