11beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenases as regulators of pulmonary corticosterone during the granulomatous response to trehalose 6,6'-dimycolate

April Nicole Abbott, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


Protection against Mycobacterium tuberculosis requires development and maintenance of granulomatous lesions, a feature considered to be the pathological hallmark of Tuberculosis (TB) disease. Upon encountering Mtb or mycobacterial antigens, specifically trehalose 6,6'-dimycolate (TDM), a strong local pro-inflammatory response is initiated. Systemic production of anti-inflammatory glucocorticoids (GCs) is also induced. Emergence of these antagonists at the inflammatory foci is counterproductive to development of the granulomatous structure and detrimental to host protection against TB. Therefore, it was hypothesized that local enzymatic regulation of GCs occurs locally at the site of granulomatous inflammation. The experiments described here strongly suggest that 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenases (11βHSDs) shuttle GCs between active and inert forms during the acute granulomatous response, supporting the net reduction of corticosterone. The patterns of GC and 11βHSD regulation were specific to the lung (the site of inflammation) and were not observed in other tissues. Furthermore, 11βHSD2, which decreases corticosterone concentrations, was not expressed in models of dysregulated granulomatous inflammation. These findings suggest that cellular exposure to local active GC concentrations is restricted via 11βHSDs as a mechanism to initiate and maintain granuloma formation. The information derived from the experiments outlined in this dissertation provides a better understanding of the events required for establishment and maintenance of the protective granulomatous response. As a practical consequence, exploiting 11βHSD2 modulation of GCs at the site of Mtb infection may lead to improvement of Tuberculosis treatment strategies.

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Recommended Citation

Abbott, April Nicole, "11beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenases as regulators of pulmonary corticosterone during the granulomatous response to trehalose 6,6'-dimycolate" (2009). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3358122.