Antigen-Specific CD8+ T Cells and Protective Immunity to Tuberculosis

  • Samuel M. BeharEmail author
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 783)


The continuing HIV/AIDS epidemic and the spread of multi-drug resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis has led to the perpetuation of the worldwide tuberculosis epidemic. While M. bovis BCG is widely used as a vaccine, it lacks efficacy in preventing pulmonary tuberculosis in adults [1]. To combat this ongoing scourge, vaccine development for tuberculosis is a global priority. Most infected individuals develop long-lived protective immunity, which controls and contains M. tuberculosis in a T cell-dependent manner. An effective T cells response determines whether the infection resolves or develops into clinically evident disease. Consequently, there is great interest in determining which T cells subsets mediate anti-mycobacterial immunity, delineating their effector functions, and evaluating whether vaccination can elicit these T cells subsets and induce protective immunity. CD4+ T cells are critical for resistance to M. tuberculosis in both humans and rodent models. CD4+ T cells are required to control the initial infection as well as to prevent recrudescence in both humans and mice [2]. While it is generally accepted that class II MHC-restricted CD4+ T cells are essential for immunity to tuberculosis, M. tuberculosis infection elicits CD8+ T cells responses in both people and in experimental animals. CD8+ T cells are also recruited to the lung during M. tuberculosis infection and are found in the granulomas of infected people. Thus, how CD8+ T cells contribute to overall immunity to tuberculosis and whether antigens recognized by CD8+ T cells would enhance the efficacy of vaccine strategies continue to be important questions.


Dendritic Cell Tuberculosis Infection Infected Macrophage Transporter Associate With Antigen Processing Mycobacterial Antigen 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Genetically deficient (i.e., “knockout”)


Antigen presenting cell


Dendritic cell


Colony forming unit






Lymph node


Monoclonal antibody


Major histocompatibility complex


Mononuclear cells


Pulmonary LN


T cells receptor


Tumor necrosis factor




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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Rheumatology Immunology, and AllergyBrigham and Women’s HospitalBostonUSA

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