The immunological reaction of the organism against tuberculosis, which involves a gene called LTA4H, is being investigated by scientists to determine what is the most appropriate treatment for each individual, based on their response to the infection, which they have confirmed may be 'just', or very scarce or excessive, which in both cases causes problems and favors the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which causes the disease, proliferate.
A group of researchers from the University of Oxford, King's College, United States and Vietnam has found that the immune response to tuberculosis differs according to the version of the LTA4H gene presented by the patient, and is associated with an insufficient, scarce reaction or adjusted, and this in turn determines the effectiveness of the various treatments, which should be individualized according to the genetic profile of the patient.
The immunological response to tuberculosis differs according to the version of the LTA4H gene presented by the patient, and is associated with an insufficient, limited or adjusted reaction, which in turn determines the effectiveness of the treatment
The team of scientists carried out a study in which they used data obtained from research with zebrafish and clinical trials conducted with patients suffering from tuberculous meningitis (the most serious form of the disease). In the zebrafish study authors identified a gene that regulates the inflammatory response to tuberculosis infection, and observed that variations in the DNA of this gene make it very limited or excessive, so they concluded that a drug capable of Establishing an adequate level of inflammatory response would improve the efficacy of the standard treatment. They also found that bacterial meningitis patients only responded adequately to dexamethasone (a steroid that is usually used together with other medications to treat this condition) when the LTA4H gene produced an exaggerated inflammation, but that if the inflammatory response was scarce, the use of of steroids could cause adverse effects.
In the opinion of one of the directors of the study, Dr. Guy Thwaites, of King's College London, performing genetic tests on patients to evaluate the immune response to tuberculosis would allow professionals to opt for the most effective treatment in each case and it would avoid undesired consequences. The results, in addition, can be extrapolated to other infectious diseases in which the type of inflammation is also determined by the LTA4H gene.