Eicosanoids regulate whether human and murine macrophages infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis die by apoptosis or necrosis. The death modality is important since apoptosis is associated with diminished pathogen viability and should be viewed as a form of innate immunity. Apoptotic vesicles derived from infected macrophages are also an important source of bacterial antigens that can be acquired by dendritic cells to prime antigen-specific T cells. This review integrates in vitro and in vivo data on how apoptosis of infected macrophages is linked to development of T cell immunity against M. tuberculosis.
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