Human Macrophages Exhibit GM-CSF Dependent Restriction of Mycobacterium tuberculosis Infection via Regulating Their Self-Survival, Differentiation and Metabolism

Abhishek Mishra, Vipul K. Singh, Chinnaswamy Jagannath, Selvakumar Subbian, Blanca I. Restrepo, Marie Claire Gauduin, Arshad Khan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


GM-CSF is an important cytokine that regulates the proliferation of monocytes/macrophages and its various functions during health and disease. Although growing evidences support the notion that GM-CSF could play a major role in immunity against tuberculosis (TB) infection, the mechanism of GM-CSF mediated protective effect against TB remains largely unknown. Here in this study we examined the secreted levels of GM-CSF by human macrophages from different donors along with the GM-CSF dependent cellular processes that are critical for control of M. tuberculosis infection. While macrophage of different donors varied in their ability to produce GM-CSF, a significant correlation was observed between secreted levels of GM-CSF, survial of macrophages and intra-macrophage control of Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacilli. GM-CSF levels secreted by macrophages negatively correlated with the intra-macrophage M. tuberculosis burden, survival of infected host macrophages positively correlated with their GM-CSF levels. GM-CSF-dependent prolonged survival of human macrophages also correlated with significantly decreased bacterial burden and increased expression of self-renewal/cell-survival associated genes such as BCL-2 and HSP27. Antibody-mediated depletion of GM-CSF in macrophages resulted in induction of significantly elevated levels of apoptotic/necrotic cell death and a simultaneous decrease in autophagic flux. Additionally, protective macrophages against M. tuberculosis that produced more GM-CSF, induced a stronger granulomatous response and produced significantly increased levels of IL-1β, IL-12 and IL-10 and decreased levels of TNF-α and IL-6. In parallel, macrophages isolated from the peripheral blood of active TB patients exhibited reduced capacity to control the intracellular growth of M. tuberculosis and produced significantly lower levels of GM-CSF. Remarkably, as compared to healthy controls, macrophages of active TB patients exhibited significantly altered metabolic state correlating with their GM-CSF secretion levels. Altogether, these results suggest that relative levels of GM-CSF produced by human macrophages plays a critical role in preventing cell death and maintaining a protective differentiation and metabolic state of the host cell against M. tuberculosis infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number859116
JournalFrontiers in immunology
StatePublished - May 12 2022


  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis
  • antigen presentation
  • autophagy
  • cell death
  • cellular metabolism
  • granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor
  • macrophages
  • tuberculosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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