Tuberculosis pathogenesis and immunity

Annu Rev Pathol. 2012;7:353-84. doi: 10.1146/annurev-pathol-011811-132458. Epub 2011 Oct 31.


Despite the development of potentially curative chemotherapy, tuberculosis (TB) continues to cause increasing worldwide morbidity and is a leading cause of human mortality in the developing world. Recent advances in bacterial molecular genetics, immunology, and human genetics have yielded insight into the molecular determinants of virulence, the immune responses that are essential for restricting progressive disease, and the determinants of immunopathology in TB. Despite these advances, a large knowledge gap still exists that limits the development and testing of new interventions, including novel drugs and efficacious vaccines. This review focuses on our current knowledge of TB pathogenesis and immunity that has been derived from in vitro and in vivo studies. In addition, it highlights topics that need to be better understood to provide improved means of controlling TB worldwide.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adaptive Immunity
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / immunology
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / physiology
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / drug therapy
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / immunology*
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / prevention & control