RespiriNTM & RespiriTB – Host-directed therapy to combat mycobacterial infections

Abstract: Upon infection, mycobacteria, such as Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) and nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM), are recognized by host innate immune cells, triggering a series of intracellular processes that promote mycobacterial killing. Mycobacteria, however, have developed multiple counter-strategies to persist and survive inside host cells. By manipulating host effector mechanisms, including phagosome maturation, vacuolar escape, autophagy, antigen presentation, and metabolic pathways, pathogenic mycobacteria are able to establish long-lasting infection. Counteracting these mycobacteria-induced host modifying mechanisms can be accomplished by host-directed therapeutic (HDT) strategies. HDTs offer several major advantages compared to conventional antibiotics: (a) HDTs can be effective against both drug-resistant and drug-susceptible bacteria, as well as potentially dormant mycobacteria; (b) HDTs are less likely to induce bacterial drug resistance; and (c) HDTs could synergize with, or shorten antibiotic treatment by targeting different pathways. In this review, we will explore host-pathogen interactions that have been identified for Mtb for which potential HDTs impacting both innate and adaptive immunity are available, and outline those worthy of future research. We will also discuss possibilities to target NTM infection by HDT, although current knowledge regarding host-pathogen interactions for NTM is limited compared to Mtb. Finally, we speculate that combinatorial HDT strategies can potentially synergize to achieve optimal mycobacterial host immune control.

Authors: Kilinç, G., Saris, A., Ottenhoff, T., Haks, M. C.

Source: Wiley Online Library, Immunological Reviews