Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection and tissue factor expression in macrophages

PLoS One. 2012;7(9):e45700. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0045700. Epub 2012 Sep 24.


A number of earlier studies reported the occurrence of thrombotic complications, particularly disseminated intravascular coagulation and deep vein thrombosis, in tuberculosis (TB) patients. The aberrant expression of tissue factor (TF), the primary activator of coagulation cascade, is known to be responsible for thrombotic disorders in many diseases including bacterial infections. Further, expression of TF by cells of the monocyte/macrophage lineage is also shown to contribute to the development and progression of local and systemic inflammatory reactions. In the present study, we have investigated whether Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) infection induces TF expression in macrophages, and various host and pathogenic factors responsible for TF expression. We have tested the effect of live virulent Mtb H37Rv, gamma-irradiated Mtb H37Rv (γ-Mtb) and various components derived from Mtb H37Rv on TF expression in macrophages. The data presented in the manuscript show that both live virulent Mtb and γ-Mtb treatments markedly increased TF activity in macrophages, predominantly in the CD14(+) macrophages. Detailed studies using γ-Mtb showed that the increased TF activity in macrophages following Mtb treatment is the result of TF transcriptional activation. The signaling pathways of TF induction by Mtb appears to be distinct from that of LPS-induced TF expression. Mtb-mediated TF expression is dependent on cooperation of CD14/TLR2/TLR4 and probably yet another unknown receptor/cofactor. Mtb cell wall core components, mycolyl arabinogalactan peptidoglycan (mAGP), phosphatidylinositol mannoside-6 (PIM6) and lipomannan (LM) were identified as factors responsible for induction of TF in the order of mAGP>PIM6>LM. A direct contact between bacteria and macrophage and not Mtb-released soluble factors is critical for TF induction by Mtb. In summary, our data show that Mtb induces TF expression in macrophages and Mtb signaling pathways that elicit TF induction require cooperation of multiple receptors, co-receptors/co-factors including Toll-like receptors. The importance of TF in granuloma formation and containment of Mtb is discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Extracellular Signal-Regulated MAP Kinases / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Lipopolysaccharide Receptors / immunology
  • Macrophages / enzymology
  • Macrophages / immunology
  • Macrophages / metabolism*
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / isolation & purification*
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / pathogenicity
  • Protein Kinase C / metabolism
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Thromboplastin / genetics
  • Thromboplastin / metabolism*
  • Transcriptional Activation
  • Tuberculosis / metabolism*
  • Tuberculosis / microbiology
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / metabolism


  • Lipopolysaccharide Receptors
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Thromboplastin
  • Protein Kinase C
  • Extracellular Signal-Regulated MAP Kinases