Lessons from experimental Mycobacterium tuberculosis infections

Microbes Infect. 2006 Apr;8(4):1179-88. doi: 10.1016/j.micinf.2005.10.033. Epub 2006 Jan 18.


Mycobacterium tuberculosis is the cause of enormous human morbidity and mortality each year. Although this bacterium can infect and cause disease in many animals, humans are the natural host. For the purposes of studying the pathogenesis of M. tuberculosis, as well as the protective and immunopathologic host responses against this pathogen, suitable animal models must be used. However, modeling the human infection and disease in animals can be difficult, and interpreting the data from animal models must be done carefully. In this paper, the animal models of tuberculosis are discussed, as well as the limitations and advantages of various models. In particular, the lessons we have learned about tuberculosis from the mouse models are highlighted. The careful and thoughtful use of animal models is essential to furthering our understanding of M. tuberculosis, and this knowledge will enhance the discovery of improved treatment and prevention strategies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Count
  • Cytokines / genetics
  • Cytokines / immunology
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Fishes
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Haplorhini
  • Humans
  • Lung / immunology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis*
  • Primates
  • Rabbits
  • Species Specificity
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / cytology
  • Time Factors
  • Tuberculosis / immunology*


  • Cytokines