Mycobacterium tuberculosis is an enormously successful human pathogen that can infect its host for decades without causing clinical disease, only to reactivate when host immunity is compromised. A normal immune response thus contains bacterial spread without inducing sterilizing immunity, therefore benefitting both host and pathogen. Recent work has begun to outline the complexity of this host-pathogen interaction and to reveal how the homeostatic balance between the two is achieved. This review focuses on two significant aspects of this delicate dance: the host's initial innate response and the mature granuloma that later contains the pathogen. Here, we review the fine balance of inflammatory events triggered or controlled by both the host and bacteria and implications for the survival of each.
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