Immunology studies in non-human primate models of tuberculosis

Immunol Rev. 2015 Mar;264(1):60-73. doi: 10.1111/imr.12258.


Non-human primates, primarily macaques, have been used to study tuberculosis for decades. However, in the last 15 years, this model has been refined substantially to allow careful investigations of the immune response and host-pathogen interactions in Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection. Low-dose challenge with fully virulent strains in cynomolgus macaques result in the full clinical spectrum seen in humans, including latent and active infection. Reagents from humans are usually cross-reactive with macaques, further facilitating the use of this model system to study tuberculosis. Finally, macaques develop the spectrum of granuloma types seen in humans, providing a unique opportunity to investigate bacterial and host factors at the local (lung and lymph node) level. Here, we review the past decade of immunology and pathology studies in macaque models of tuberculosis.

Keywords: granuloma; immunology; lymph node; macaque; non-human primate; tuberculosis.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adaptive Immunity
  • Animals
  • Cytokines / genetics
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Granuloma / genetics
  • Granuloma / immunology
  • Granuloma / metabolism
  • Granuloma / microbiology
  • Granuloma / pathology
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Immunomodulation
  • Lymph Nodes / microbiology
  • Lymph Nodes / pathology
  • Macaca
  • Macrophages / immunology
  • Macrophages / metabolism
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / immunology*
  • Patient Outcome Assessment
  • Positron-Emission Tomography
  • Primates*
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / metabolism
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Tuberculosis / diagnosis
  • Tuberculosis / genetics
  • Tuberculosis / immunology*
  • Tuberculosis / metabolism
  • Tuberculosis / microbiology


  • Cytokines