Journal Roundup

CD4 T cell subsets and tuberculosis infection

Tuberculosis remains a critically important public health problem, with almost one third of the world's population impacted by it, primarily in Africa, throughout Asia and North-Western South America. The usual triad of drug resistance, poverty, and HIV infection combine to maintain this disease as a potent enemy of human health. As issues of host immunity are directly related to sensitivity to the disease, the case for integrating the study of tuberculosis infection with flow cytometric techniques has been made in this and other journals. Streitz and coworkers studied the relationship between CD4+ T cell subsets and the control of tuberculosis, finding the existence of functional subset disparity between the stages of disease and active versus inactive infections.

Streitz et al., Cytometry B Clin Cytom 2012; 82B:360–368.

Breaking news: new best friends for Treg cells

Inducible (i)Treg cells are a T-cell population with a regulatory phenotype, which can be induced when mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are co-cultured with CD4+ T cells. Notch1 has recently been identified as a new player in iTreg-cell induction and function. In this issue, Del Papa et al. show that in human MSC-T-cell co-cultures, the Notch1 pathway is activated and involved in iTreg-cell generation. The authors show that the inhibition of Notch1 signalling through GSI-I or the Notch1 neutralizing antibody impairs the development and suppressive capacity of iTreg cells. These findings highlight activation of the Notch1 pathway as a novel mechanism in the MSC-mediated induction of Treg cells.

Del Papa et al., Eur J Immunol 2013;43: 182–187.