Mycobacterium tuberculosis evades host immunity by recruiting mesenchymal stem cells

Shilpa Raghuvanshi, Pawan Sharma, Sarman Singh, Luc Van Kaer, Gobardhan Das

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

89 Scopus citations


Tuberculosis (TB) is the cause of 2 million deaths each year, which is the second highest cause of mortality from a single infectious disease worldwide. Resistance of these organisms to drugs has emerged as an important health concern. Alternative approaches to the prevention and treatment of tuberculosis are therefore urgently needed. Despite the generation of robust host immune responses, Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M. tb) successfully evades host immunity and establishes a persistent infection. The mechanism( s) by which M. tuberculosis manages to persist in the face of potent host immune responses remain(s) incompletely understood Here, we demonstrate that M. tb suppresses T-lymphocyte responses by recruiting mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) to the site of infection. We found that MSCs infiltrated tissues in mice containing M. tb organisms and T lymphocytes. We further demonstrate that MSCs suppressed T-cell responses by producing nitric oxide. Our findings reveal a key role of MSCs in the capacity of M. tb to evade host immune responses and identify these cells as unique targets for therapeutic intervention in tuberculosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21653-21658
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number50
StatePublished - Dec 14 2010


  • Immune tolerance
  • Immunosuppression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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