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Clinical and Developmental Immunology
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 193923, 18 pages
Review Article

Cellular and Humoral Mechanisms Involved in the Control of Tuberculosis

1Laboratory of Immunobiology and Genetics, Instituto Nacional de Enfermedades Respiratorias Ismael Cosío Villegas, Tlalpan 4502, 14080 Mexico City, DF, Mexico
2Department of Immunology and Rheumatology, Instituto Nacional de Ciencias Médicas y Nutrición Salvador Zubirán, Vasco de Quiroga 15, Tlalpan, 14000 Mexico City, DF, Mexico
3Department of Transplants, Instituto Nacional de Ciencias Médicas y Nutrición Salvador Zubirán, Vasco de Quiroga 15, 14000 Tlalpan, Mexico City, DF, Mexico
4Department of Pathology, The Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Department of Cancer Immunology and AIDS, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA

Received 10 December 2011; Revised 6 March 2012; Accepted 6 March 2012

Academic Editor: Hans Wilhelm Nijman

Copyright © 2012 Joaquin Zuñiga et al. 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.


Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) infection is a major international public health problem. One-third of the world's population is thought to have latent tuberculosis, a condition where individuals are infected by the intracellular bacteria without active disease but are at risk for reactivation, if their immune system fails. Here, we discuss the role of nonspecific inflammatory responses mediated by cytokines and chemokines induced by interaction of innate receptors expressed in macrophages and dendritic cells (DCs). We also review current information regarding the importance of several cytokines including IL-17/IL-23 in the development of protective cellular and antibody-mediated protective responses against Mtb and their influence in containment of the infection. Finally, in this paper, emphasis is placed on the mechanisms of failure of Mtb control, including the immune dysregulation induced by the treatment with biological drugs in different autoimmune diseases. Further functional studies, focused on the mechanisms involved in the early host-Mtb interactions and the interplay between host innate and acquired immunity against Mtb, may be helpful to improve the understanding of protective responses in the lung and in the development of novel therapeutic and prophylactic tools in TB.