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New approach may help fight TB effectively: Study

Press Trust of India  |  Washington 

Structures released by tuberculosis-infected cells may be used in tandem with to boost the body's immune system, helping fight off the disease, according to a study.

The study, published in the journal EMBO Reports, found that the structures, called extracellular vesicles (EVs), contain Mycobacterium RNA -- a molecule essential in various biological roles -- and transfer it to other cells.

This starts a built-in weapon system against the in the form of an immune response, said researchers from the in the US.

Though extracellular vesicles containing RNA from viruses had been discovered years ago, the researchers recently discovered RNA from bacteria -- Mycobacterium -- in EVs.

This discovery led to experiments to determine how the bacteria's RNA was affecting the "target" cell, including cells infected by M

A key discovery hinges on macrophages, which are cells of the immune system, researchers said.

These cells, when treated with EVs released from M tuberculosis-infected cells, can control the better than macrophages not previously exposed to the EVs, they said.

"It had never before been shown that bacterial RNA in EVs can activate this sensing pathway, one that has primarily been thought to be involved in viral sensing," said Jeffrey Schorey, a at the

The researchers found that EV-treated macrophages produce compounds like reactive oxygen species that can promote the killing of the once it infects the macrophage.

The discovery is important because it can lead to future therapies for treatment of tuberculosis, researchers said.

Preliminary data suggests that might work better when combined with an based on using these EVs.

The data from the mouse model showed that more of the bacterial-infected cells were killed with the combination of therapies than either or EVs alone, Schorey noted.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, March 15 2019. 12:00 IST