The protective role of B cells and humoral immune responses in tuberculosis infection has been regarded as inferior to cellular immunity directed to the intracellular pathogen Mycobacterium tuberculosis. However, B-cell-mediated immune responses in tuberculosis have recently been revisited in the context of B-cell physiology and antigen presentation. We discuss in this review the diverse functions of B cells in tuberculosis, with a focus on their biological and clinical relevance to progression of active disease. We also present the peptide microarray platform as a promising strategy to discover unknown antigenic targets of M. tuberculosis that could contribute to the better understanding of epitope focus of the humoral immune system against M. tuberculosis.
Keywords: B cells; antibodies; cytokines; host-directed therapy; tuberculosis.
© The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Infectious Diseases Society of America.