About this Research Topic
Granulomas are organized aggregates of macrophages and other immune cells that form around persistent particulate stimuli of infectious or non-infectious origin in the body’s attempt to eliminate them. Granulomas are often characterized by the presence of macrophages that have undergone dramatic morphological changes, such as becoming epithelioid, multinucleated or foamy (lipid-laden), which may be accompanied by ultrastructural features, such as a necrotic core, fibrosis, extensive vascularization, or calcification. Granulomas are evolutionarily ancient structures that likely developed as a protective mechanism against chronic infections and can be induced by a wide range of infectious microbes - including some bacteria, protists, helminths, and viruses.
While granulomas often constitute a potent defense mechanism in several infections by helping to eradicate the microbe, preventing its dissemination throughout the body, or by neutralizing secreted toxins, they can also be pathogenic by damaging host tissues or by facilitating key microbial processes, such as expansion of the microbe’s growth niche in the body or transmission to new hosts. In fact, some pathogens have evolved virulence mechanisms to exploit the granulomatous response. Thus, granulomas are complex structures that may play both host-protective and -detrimental roles in infectious disease. Whether they ultimately benefit the host or the microbe might depend on context-specific interactions between host and microbial factors.
This Research Topic explores the biology of infectious granulomas with the goal of understanding, at the cellular and molecular levels, how protective and pathogenic granulomas form in response to different types of infection and in diverse animal hosts. Insights into these processes may help to identify fundamental principles and infection-specific elements of granuloma biology, inform ways in which to turn pathogenic granulomas into host-protective ones, and suggest methods to develop more effective vaccines and host-directed adjunctive therapies to tackle some of the most challenging infectious diseases.
We welcome the submission of Original Research, Review and Methods articles on, but not limited to, the following themes:
• Granuloma architecture
• Molecular mechanisms of granuloma development
• Leukocyte differentiation in the granuloma
• Protective immunity and immunopathology in the granuloma
• Microbial exploitation of the granulomatous response
• Quantitative analysis of cellular dynamics in the granuloma
• Novel methodologies to study granuloma biology
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.