Tuberculosis (TB), caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb), remains one of the world's largest infectious disease problems. Despite decades of intensive study, the immune response to Mtb is incompletely characterised, reflecting the extremely complex interaction between pathogen and host. Pathways that may alter the balance between host protection and pathogenesis are therefore of great interest. One pathway shown to play a role in the pathogenesis of chronic infections, including TB, is the programmed death-1 (PD-1) pathway. We show here that the expression of the programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1), which interacts with PD-1, is increased in whole blood from active TB patients compared with whole blood from healthy controls or Mtb-exposed individuals, and that expression by neutrophils is largely responsible for this increase.
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