Inflammatory signaling in human tuberculosis granulomas is spatially organized

Mohlopheni J. Marakalala, Ravikiran M. Raju, Kirti Sharma, Yanjia J. Zhang, Eliseo A. Eugenin, Brendan Prideaux, Isaac B. Daudelin, Pei Yu Chen, Matthew G. Booty, Jin Hee Kim, Seok Yong Eum, Laura E. Via, Samuel M. Behar, Clifton E. Barry, Matthias Mann, Véronique Dartois, Eric J. Rubin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

129 Scopus citations


Granulomas are the pathological hallmark of tuberculosis (TB). However, their function and mechanisms of formation remain poorly understood. To understand the role of granulomas in TB, we analyzed the proteomes of granulomas from subjects with tuberculosis in an unbiased manner. Using laser-capture microdissection, mass spectrometry and confocal microscopy, we generated detailed molecular maps of human granulomas. We found that the centers of granulomas have a pro-inflammatory environment that is characterized by the presence of antimicrobial peptides, reactive oxygen species and pro-inflammatory eicosanoids. Conversely, the tissue surrounding the caseum has a comparatively anti-inflammatory signature. These findings are consistent across a set of six human subjects and in rabbits. Although the balance between systemic pro- and anti-inflammatory signals is crucial to TB disease outcome, here we find that these signals are physically segregated within each granuloma. From the protein and lipid snapshots of human and rabbit lesions analyzed here, we hypothesize that the pathologic response to TB is shaped by the precise anatomical localization of these inflammatory pathways during the development of the granuloma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)531-538
Number of pages8
JournalNature Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2016
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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