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BioMed Research International
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 179174, 18 pages
Review Article

Pattern Recognition Receptors and Cytokines in Mycobacterium tuberculosis Infection—The Double-Edged Sword?

1School of Health Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia, 16150 Kubang Kerian, Kelantan, Malaysia
2Institute for Research in Molecular Medicine, Universiti Sains Malaysia, 16150 Kubang Kerian, Kelantan, Malaysia

Received 13 March 2013; Revised 16 September 2013; Accepted 27 September 2013

Academic Editor: Gernot Zissel

Copyright © 2013 Md. Murad Hossain and Mohd-Nor Norazmi. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Tuberculosis, an infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb), remains a major cause of human death worldwide. Innate immunity provides host defense against Mtb. Phagocytosis, characterized by recognition of Mtb by macrophages and dendritic cells (DCs), is the first step of the innate immune defense mechanism. The recognition of Mtb is mediated by pattern recognition receptors (PRRs), expressed on innate immune cells, including toll-like receptors (TLRs), complement receptors, nucleotide oligomerization domain like receptors, dendritic cell-specific intercellular adhesion molecule grabbing nonintegrin (DC-SIGN), mannose receptors, CD14 receptors, scavenger receptors, and FC receptors. Interaction of mycobacterial ligands with PRRs leads macrophages and DCs to secrete selected cytokines, which in turn induce interferon- - (IFN -) dominated immunity. IFN and other cytokines like tumor necrosis factor- (TNF ) regulate mycobacterial growth, granuloma formation, and initiation of the adaptive immune response to Mtb and finally provide protection to the host. However, Mtb can evade destruction by antimicrobial defense mechanisms of the innate immune system as some components of the system may promote survival of the bacteria in these cells and facilitate pathogenesis. Thus, although innate immunity components generally play a protective role against Mtb, they may also facilitate Mtb survival. The involvement of selected PRRs and cytokines on these seemingly contradictory roles is discussed.