The clinical application of immunometabolism to the TB Patient

Recent studies have shown that cells of the immune system change the way that they break down sugars (their metabolism) after they are stimulated, and that this change in metabolism is needed in order to produce specific chemicals (cytokines) that fight infection.
We will study what metabolism changes happen in immune cells from the human lung when they are infected with tuberculosis (TB). We will investigate how important these changes are in order to fight infection by examining how well the immune cells work when we block the changes from happening and compare it to when the changes are allowed.
Certain drugs work by affecting the metabolism of cells in the human body. We will study how these drugs affect immune cells from the human lung and the way that they deal with TB infection. The drugs that we will test are licensed for use in humans at the moment, as they are used to treat other diseases, so we know a lot about their side effects already.
Certain groups of people have a higher risk of getting TB, such as people who smoke and people with the disease diabetes. We will find out if the reason for the higher risk of TB in these groups is because of differences in the metabolism of their immune cells compared to healthy people.
TB can affect people very differently with some people having no symptoms and others becoming very sick and even dying, the reason for this isn't fully understood. During this study we will measure sugars in the blood of patients who have TB in order to find out whether their metabolism is associated with how severe their disease is. This information is important because it will tell us how the changes we see in metabolism of immune cells in the laboratory actually results in changes in how sick patients are.


Award Date
14 May 2016
Award Value
Principal Investigator
Dr Laura Gleeson
Host Institution
Trinity College Dublin
Research Training Fellowships for Healthcare Professionals