Trained immunity: a new avenue for tuberculosis vaccine development

J Intern Med. 2016 Apr;279(4):337-46. doi: 10.1111/joim.12449. Epub 2015 Nov 24.


Adaptive immunity towards tuberculosis (TB) has been extensively studied for many years. In addition, in recent years the profound contribution of innate immunity to host defence against this disease has become evident. The discovery of pattern recognition receptors, which allow innate immunity to tailor its response to different infectious agents, has challenged the view that this arm of immunity is nonspecific. Evidence is now accumulating that innate immunity can remember a previous exposure to a microorganism and respond differently during a second exposure. Although the specificity and memory of innate immunity cannot compete with the highly sophisticated adaptive immune response, its contribution to host defence against infection and to vaccine-induced immunity should not be underestimated and needs to be explored. Here, we present the concept of trained immunity and discuss how this may contribute to new avenues for control of TB.

Keywords: BCG; epigenetics; innate immunity; trained immunity; tuberculosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate / immunology*
  • Latent Tuberculosis / immunology
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / physiology
  • Receptors, Pattern Recognition / physiology
  • Tuberculosis / immunology
  • Tuberculosis Vaccines / immunology*


  • Receptors, Pattern Recognition
  • Tuberculosis Vaccines