Antibiotics induce polarization of pleural macrophages to M2-like phenotype in patients with tuberculous pleuritis
Pleural macrophages play critical roles in pathogenesis of tuberculous pleuritis, but very little is known about their response to anti-tuberculosis antibiotics treatment. Here, we examined whether and how pleural macrophages change in phenotype, transcription and function following antibiotics treatment in patients with tuberculous pleuritis. Results show pro-inflammatory cytokines were down-regulated significantly post antibiotic treatment in the pleural effusions and pleural macrophages up-regulated markers characteristic of M2 macrophages such as CD163 and CD206. Differential expression analysis of transcriptomes from four paired samples before and after treatment identified 230 treatment-specific responsive genes in pleural macrophages. Functional analysis identified interferon-related pathway to be the most responsive genes and further confirmed macrophage polarization to M2-like phenotype. We further demonstrate that expression of a significant fraction of responsive genes was modulated directly by antibiotics in pleural macrophages in vitro. Our results conclude that pleural macrophages polarize from M1-like to M2-like phenotype within a mean of 3.5 days post antibiotics treatment, which is dependent on both pleural cytokine environment and direct modulatory effects of antibiotics. The treatment-specific genes could be used to study the roles of pleural macrophages in the pathogenesis of tuberculous pleuritis and to monitor the response to antibiotics treatment.