Reactive nitrogen intermediates and the pathogenesis of Salmonella and mycobacteria

Curr Opin Microbiol. 2000 Feb;3(1):35-42. doi: 10.1016/s1369-5274(99)00048-x.


Over the past decade, reactive nitrogen intermediates joined reactive oxygen intermediates as a biochemically parallel and functionally non-redundant pathway for mammalian host resistance to many microbial pathogens. The past year has brought a new appreciation that these two pathways are partially redundant, such that each can compensate in part for the absence of the other. In combination, their importance to defense of the murine host is greater than previously appreciated. In addition to direct microbicidal actions, reactive nitrogen intermediates have immunoregulatory effects relevant to the control of infection. Genes have been characterized in Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Salmonella typhimurium that may regulate the ability of pathogens to resist reactive nitrogen and oxygen intermediates produced by activated macrophages.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Humans
  • Macrophages / immunology
  • Macrophages / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / genetics
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / immunology
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / pathogenicity*
  • Nitric Oxide / metabolism*
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Salmonella Infections / immunology
  • Salmonella Infections / microbiology
  • Salmonella typhimurium / genetics
  • Salmonella typhimurium / immunology
  • Salmonella typhimurium / pathogenicity*
  • Tuberculosis / immunology
  • Tuberculosis / microbiology


  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Nitric Oxide