Acquired and genetic host susceptibility factors and microbial pathogenic factors that predispose to nontuberculous mycobacterial infections

Curr Opin Immunol. 2018 Oct;54:66-73. doi: 10.1016/j.coi.2018.06.001. Epub 2018 Jun 21.


Nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) are ubiquitous in the environment and human exposure is likely to be pervasive; yet, the occurrence of NTM-related diseases is relatively infrequent. This discrepancy suggests that host risk factors play an integral role in vulnerability to NTM infections. Isolated NTM lung disease (NTM-LD) is often due to underlying anatomical pulmonary or immune disorders, either of which may be acquired or genetic. However, many cases of NTM-LD have no known underlying risk factors and may be multigenic and/or multicausative. In contrast, extrapulmonary visceral or disseminated NTM diseases almost always have an underlying severe immunodeficiency, which may also be acquired or genetic. NTM cell wall components play a key role in pathogenesis and as inducers of the host immune response.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Disease Susceptibility / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Mycobacterium Infections, Nontuberculous / genetics
  • Mycobacterium Infections, Nontuberculous / immunology*
  • Nontuberculous Mycobacteria / immunology
  • Virulence Factors / genetics
  • Virulence Factors / immunology*


  • Virulence Factors