Latent tuberculosis: what the host "sees"?

Immunol Res. 2011 Aug;50(2-3):202-12. doi: 10.1007/s12026-011-8229-7.


Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB), the causative agent of tuberculosis (TB), is the most successful pathogen of mankind and remains a major threat to global health as the leading cause of death due to a bacterial pathogen. Yet 90-95% of those who are infected with MTB remain otherwise healthy. These people are classified as "latently infected," but remain a reservoir from which active TB cases will continue to develop ("reactivation tuberculosis"). Latent infection is defined by the absence of clinical symptoms of TB in addition to a delayed hypersensitivity reaction to the purified protein derivative of MTB used in tuberculin skin test or a T-cell response to MTB-specific antigens. In the absence of reliable control measures for tuberculosis, understanding latent MTB infection and subsequent reactivation is a research priority. This review aims to summarize the recent findings in human and non-human primate models of tuberculosis that have led to new concepts of latent tuberculosis.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Granuloma / microbiology
  • Granuloma / pathology
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Cellular / immunology
  • Immunity, Humoral / immunology
  • Latent Tuberculosis / immunology*
  • Latent Tuberculosis / pathology
  • Latent Tuberculosis / prevention & control
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / immunology
  • Primates
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes / metabolism


  • Biomarkers