Springer Seminars in Immunopathology

, Volume 10, Issue 4, pp 337–358 | Cite as

The role of T cell — Macrophage interactions in tuberculosis

  • Stefan H. E. Kaufmann
  • Inge E. A. Flesch
Article

Abstract

Acquired resistance against tuberculosis paradigmatically depends on specific T lymphocytes and mononuclear phagocytes. The etiological agent,Mycobacterium tuberculosis is capable of replicating in mononuclear phagocytes which act both as habitat and as effectors of protection. Upon interaction with antigen-specific T lymphocytes infected mononuclear phagocytes acquire tuberculosis activities. Here, data from experimental tuberculosis studies in mice are summarized which show that: interleukins produced by cloned T cells and recombinant interferon-γ are capable of activating tuberculostatic capacities in macrophages; both CD4 and CD8 T cells, after adequate stimulation, produce interferon-γ; CD8 T cells lyse macrophages in an antigen-specific way; not only CD8 but also CD4 T cells possess an antigen-specific cytolytic potential; lysis of infected macrophages results in mycobacterial growth inhibition. Evidence is also presented that tuberculostatic activities of activated macrophages depend on phagosome-lysosome fusion and are independent of reactive oxygen metabolites and that some strains ofM. tuberculosis are resistant against interferon-γ activated macrophages. These findings suggest that both helper and cytolytic T cells participate in the immune response to tuberculosis and that similar T cell mechanisms contribute to resistance as well as pathogenesis. Protection against tuberculosis, therefore, depends on subtle coordination of the immune response.

Keywords

Immune Response Tuberculosis Mycobacterium Tuberculosis Etiological Agent Tuberculosis Activity 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York, Inc. 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stefan H. E. Kaufmann
    • 1
  • Inge E. A. Flesch
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Medical Microbiology and ImmunologyUniversity of Ulm, Oberer EselsbergUlmFederal Republic of Germany

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