Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Air Pollution, Smoking Affect Latent Tuberculosis

Date:
May 14, 2008
Source:
University of Alabama at Birmingham
Summary:
A toxic gas present in air pollution and tobacco smoke plays a significant role in triggering tuberculosis infection, according to a new study. The study shows for the first time how carbon monoxide triggers Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the causative agent of tuberculosis, to shift from active infection to a drug-resistant dormant state. TB latency is a global problem that results in tuberculosis escaping detection and treatment. The CO biological trigger happens with both airborne and internal sources of the gas.

TB lung lesions stained to show CO fingerprint biology.
Credit: UAB

A toxic gas present in air pollution and tobacco smoke plays a significant role in triggering tuberculosis infection, according to a new study from researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB).

The UAB study focused on carbon monoxide (CO), a colorless, odorless gas present in tobacco smoke, and vehicle and manufacturing plant emissions. Also, CO is produced naturally in brushfires and volcanic gas.

The study showed that CO triggers Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb), the causative agent of tuberculosis, to shift from active infection to a drug-resistant dormant state. This is called latency, a global problem that results in tuberculosis escaping detection and treatment, and which contributes to overall tuberculosis transmission.

"This is the first description of a role for CO in mycobacterial pathogenesis, and may explain why smoking and air pollution contributes to TB," said Adrie Steyn, Ph.D., assistant professor in UAB's Department of Microbiology and lead author on the study.*

In the study, the researchers worked with Mtb cells under biosafe laboratory conditions and found Mtb proteins ‘sense' CO at the molecular level, much like the bacteria's proteins sense other gases in the lungs. The CO interaction is what led to a series of biological steps that sent Mtb into latency.

The finding holds political and social implications for speeding up clean-air measures as a way to improve public health, in addition to the environmental significance. The study holds promise for helping to discover new ways to fight extreme drug-resistant tuberculosis, or XDR TB, the UAB researchers said.

"We're talking about huge socio-economic and public health implications," said Steyn. One third of the world's population is infected with undetectable forms of tuberculosis, which hinders screening and eradication efforts.

The finding adds to a growing understanding that exposure to high levels of CO through air pollution and cigarette smoke plays a role in tuberculosis infection rates. Also, the study showed that low levels of CO present in the body are capable of triggering tuberculosis latency, Steyn said. Inflammation, infection and oxidative stress are among contributors to CO in the body.

Research published by Steyn in 2007 showed that combined production of CO, oxygen and nitric oxide should be used in future models of Mtb persistence.

Tuberculosis is the leading cause of death in the world from a single bacterial infection, and it kills 1.5 million people per year. The rate of infection in Alabama is slightly lower than the United States. Tuberculosis infection rate: 4.3 (Alabama) per 100,000 people compared to 4.6 (U.S.) per 100,000 people.

*The findings were published online in The Journal of Biological Chemistry.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Alabama at Birmingham. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Alabama at Birmingham. "Air Pollution, Smoking Affect Latent Tuberculosis." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 May 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080513101721.htm>.
University of Alabama at Birmingham. (2008, May 14). Air Pollution, Smoking Affect Latent Tuberculosis. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080513101721.htm
University of Alabama at Birmingham. "Air Pollution, Smoking Affect Latent Tuberculosis." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080513101721.htm (accessed October 23, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) Is your child ready? Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.S. Issues Ebola Travel Restrictions, Are Visa Bans Next?

U.S. Issues Ebola Travel Restrictions, Are Visa Bans Next?

Newsy (Oct. 22, 2014) Now that the U.S. is restricting travel from West Africa, some are dropping questions about a travel ban and instead asking about visa bans. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
US to Track Everyone Coming from Ebola Nations

US to Track Everyone Coming from Ebola Nations

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) Stepping up their vigilance against Ebola, federal authorities said Wednesday that everyone traveling into the US from Ebola-stricken nations will be monitored for symptoms for 21 days. (Oct. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctors Help Paralysed Man Walk Again, Patient in Disbelief

Doctors Help Paralysed Man Walk Again, Patient in Disbelief

AFP (Oct. 22, 2014) Polish doctors describe how they helped a paralysed man walk again, with the patient in disbelief at the return of sensation to his legs. Duration: 1:04 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins