Immunological mechanisms of human resistance to persistent Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection

Jason D. Simmons, Catherine M. Stein, Chetan Seshadri, Monica Campo, Galit Alter, Sarah Fortune, Erwin Schurr, Robert S. Wallis, Gavin Churchyard, Harriet Mayanja-Kizza, W. Henry Boom, Thomas R. Hawn

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

184 Scopus citations


Mycobacterium tuberculosis is a leading cause of mortality worldwide and establishes a long-lived latent infection in a substantial proportion of the human population. Multiple lines of evidence suggest that some individuals are resistant to latent M. tuberculosis infection despite long-term and intense exposure, and we term these individuals ‘resisters’. In this Review, we discuss the epidemiological and genetic data that support the existence of resisters and propose criteria to optimally define and characterize the resister phenotype. We review recent insights into the immune mechanisms of M. tuberculosis clearance, including responses mediated by macrophages, T cells and B cells. Understanding the cellular mechanisms that underlie resistance to M. tuberculosis infection may reveal immune correlates of protection that could be utilized for improved diagnostics, vaccine development and novel host-directed therapeutic strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)575-589
Number of pages15
JournalNature Reviews Immunology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2018
Externally publishedYes

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© 2018, Macmillan Publishers Ltd., part of Springer Nature.


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