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Tuberculosis (Edinb). 2007 Nov;87(6):465-73. Epub 2007 Aug 23.

Half-truths and selective memory: Interferon gamma, CD4(+) T cells and protective memory against tuberculosis.

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  • 1Malaghan Institute of Medical Research, P.O. Box 7060, Wellington South 6021, New Zealand.


Efforts to develop a new, more effective vaccine for tuberculosis have been hampered by a lack of understanding of what constitutes a protective memory immune response. While interferon gamma production by CD4(+) T cells after vaccination is commonly used as a surrogate of protective memory immunity, its use in this regard appears to have little predictive value. We argue that this is due to the different requirements for interferon gamma-mediated protection in the primary response versus the memory recall response. In this review, we present evidence that suggests memory CD4(+) T cells can protect against tuberculosis in the absence of interferon gamma, and discuss potential mechanisms that may be involved such as IL-17 and regulatory T cells. A comprehensive understanding of the requirements for protective memory immunity to tuberculosis is essential for the development of an effective vaccine.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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