Diverse immune environments in human lung tuberculosis granulomas assessed by quantitative multiplexed immunofluorescence
Materias Investigacion::Ciencias de la Salud
Lung tuberculosis granulomas
Immune environment
Issue Date: 
Williams & Wilkins
Abengozar-Muela, M. (Marta); Villalba-Esparza, M. (María); Garcia-Ros, D. (David); et al. "Diverse immune environments in human lung tuberculosis granulomas assessed by quantitative multiplexed immunofluorescence". Modern Pathology. 33 (12), 2020, 2507 - 2519
The precise nature of the local immune responses in lung tuberculosis (TB) granulomas requires a comprehensive understanding of their environmental complexities. At its most basic level, a granuloma is a compact, organized immune aggregate of macrophages surrounded by myeloid, B and T cells. We established two complementary multiplex immunolabeling panels to simultaneously evaluate the myeloid and lymphocytic contexture of 14 human lung TB granulomas in formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissue samples. We observed diverse CD3+ and CD8+ T-cell and CD20+ B lymphocyte compositions of the granuloma immune environment and a relatively homogeneous distribution of all myeloid cells. We also found significant associations between CD8+ T-cell densities and the myeloid marker CD11b and phagocytic cell marker CD68. In addition, significantly more CD68+ macrophages and CD8+ T cells were found in Mycobacterium tuberculosis-infected granulomas, as detected by Ziehl–Neelsen staining. FOXP3 expression was predominately found in a small subset of CD4+ T cells in different granulomas. As the success or failure of each granuloma is determined by the immune response within that granuloma at a local and not a systemic level, we attempted to identify the presence of reactive T cells based on expression of the T-cell activation marker CD137 (4-1BB) and programmed cell death-1 (PD-1). Only a small fraction of the CD4+ and CD8+ T cells expressed PD-1. CD137 expression was found only in a very small fraction of the CD4+ T cells in two granulomas. Our results also showed that multinucleated giant cells showed strong PD-L1 but not CTLA-4 membrane staining. This study offers new insights into the heterogeneity of immune cell infiltration in lung TB granulomas, suggesting that each TB granuloma represents a unique immune environment that might be independently influenced by the local adaptive immune response, bacterial state, and overall host disease status.

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