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Computation 2016, 4(4), 39; doi:10.3390/computation4040039

A Multi-Compartment Hybrid Computational Model Predicts Key Roles for Dendritic Cells in Tuberculosis Infection

Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Gennady Bocharov, Olga Solovyova and Vitaly Volpert
Received: 25 August 2016 / Revised: 3 October 2016 / Accepted: 7 October 2016 / Published: 21 October 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Multiscale and Hybrid Modeling of the Living Systems)
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Tuberculosis (TB) is a world-wide health problem with approximately 2 billion people infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb, the causative bacterium of TB). The pathologic hallmark of Mtb infection in humans and Non-Human Primates (NHPs) is the formation of spherical structures, primarily in lungs, called granulomas. Infection occurs after inhalation of bacteria into lungs, where resident antigen-presenting cells (APCs), take up bacteria and initiate the immune response to Mtb infection. APCs traffic from the site of infection (lung) to lung-draining lymph nodes (LNs) where they prime T cells to recognize Mtb. These T cells, circulating back through blood, migrate back to lungs to perform their immune effector functions. We have previously developed a hybrid agent-based model (ABM, labeled GranSim) describing in silico immune cell, bacterial (Mtb) and molecular behaviors during tuberculosis infection and recently linked that model to operate across three physiological compartments: lung (infection site where granulomas form), lung draining lymph node (LN, site of generation of adaptive immunity) and blood (a measurable compartment). Granuloma formation and function is captured by a spatio-temporal model (i.e., ABM), while LN and blood compartments represent temporal dynamics of the whole body in response to infection and are captured with ordinary differential equations (ODEs). In order to have a more mechanistic representation of APC trafficking from the lung to the lymph node, and to better capture antigen presentation in a draining LN, this current study incorporates the role of dendritic cells (DCs) in a computational fashion into GranSim. Results: The model was calibrated using experimental data from the lungs and blood of NHPs. The addition of DCs allowed us to investigate in greater detail mechanisms of recruitment, trafficking and antigen presentation and their role in tuberculosis infection. Conclusion: The main conclusion of this study is that early events after Mtb infection are critical to establishing a timely and effective response. Manipulating CD8+ and CD4+ T cell proliferation rates, as well as DC migration early on during infection can determine the difference between bacterial clearance vs. uncontrolled bacterial growth and dissemination. View Full-Text
Keywords: agent-based model; multi-compartmental model; tuberculosis; dendritic cells; uncertainty and sensitivity analysis agent-based model; multi-compartmental model; tuberculosis; dendritic cells; uncertainty and sensitivity analysis

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Marino, S.; Kirschner, D.E. A Multi-Compartment Hybrid Computational Model Predicts Key Roles for Dendritic Cells in Tuberculosis Infection. Computation 2016, 4, 39.

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