Despite the availability of multiple antibiotics, tuberculosis (TB) remains a major health problem worldwide, with one third of the population latently infected and ~2 million deaths annually. The only available vaccine for TB, Bacillus Calmette Guérin (BCG), is ineffective against adult pulmonary TB. Therefore, alternate strategies that enhance vaccine efficacy are urgently needed. Vaccine efficacy and long-term immune memory are critically dependent on central memory T (TCM) cells, whereas effector memory T (TEM) cells are important for clearing acute infections. Recently, it has been shown that inhibition of the Kv1.3 K+ ion channel, which is predominantly expressed on TEM but not TCM cells, profoundly enhances TCM cell differentiation. We exploited this phenomenon to improve TCM:TEM cell ratios and protective immunity against Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection in response to BCG vaccination of mice. We demonstrate that luteolin, a plant-derived Kv1.3 K+ channel inhibitor, profoundly promotes TCM cells by selectively inhibiting TEM cells, and significantly enhances BCG vaccine efficacy. Thus, addition of luteolin to BCG vaccination may provide a sustainable means to improve vaccine efficacy by boosting host immunity via modulation of memory T cell differentiation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology