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Impact of Mycobacterium tuberculosis Infection on Human B Cell Compartment and Antibody Responses

  • Autori: La Manna, Marco P; Shekarkar-Azgomi, Mojtaba; Badami, Giusto D; Tamburini, Bartolo; Dieli, Costanza; Di Carlo, Paola; Fasciana, Teresa; Marcianò, Vito; Lo Sasso, Bruna; Giglio, Rosaria V; Giammanco, Anna; Ciaccio, Marcello; Dieli, Francesco; Caccamo, Nadia
  • Anno di pubblicazione: 2022
  • Tipologia: Articolo in rivista
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Tuberculosis (TB) remains one of the most important health challenges worldwide. Control of the TB epidemic has not yet been achieved because of the lack of an effective vaccine and rapid and sensitive diagnostic approaches, as well as the emergence of drug-resistant forms of M. tuberculosis. Cellular immunity has a pivotal role against M. tuberculosis infection, but the role of humoral immunity is still controversial. We analyzed the frequency, absolute counts, and phenotypic and functional subsets of B lymphocytes in the peripheral blood of patients with active TB and subjects with latent infection compared to healthy donors. Moreover, we analyzed serum levels of total Ig and their IgA, IgM, and IgG isotypes and the titers of preexisting antibodies against a pool of common viral pathogens. FlowCT and unsupervised clusterization analysis show that patients with active TB and LTBI subjects have modest non-significant reduction in the numbers of circulating B lymphocytes as compared to healthy donors. Moreover, LTBI subjects had high percentages of atypical B cell population and lower percentages of naive and switched memory B cells. These findings were supported by gene expression and GSEA analysis. Moreover, there were no differences between active TB patients, LTBI subjects and HD, either in serum levels of total Ig isotypes or in preexisting IgG antibody titers, to ten different antigens from eight common pathogenic viruses, clearly demonstrating that either active or latent M. tuberculosis infection preserves the antibody production capacity of long-lived plasma cells. Thus, our results agree with previous studies reporting unaltered B cell frequencies in the blood of active TB patients and LTBI individuals as compared to healthy controls.