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Clin Immunol. 2004 Nov;113(2):130-6.

Mycobacterial granulomas: keys to a long-lasting host-pathogen relationship.

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Program in Cellular and Molecular Biology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 53706, USA.


Chronic infection with mycobacteria is controlled by the formation of granulomas. The failure of granuloma maintenance results in reactivation of disease. Macrophages are the dominant cell type in granulomas, but CD4+ T cells are the master organizers of granuloma structure and function. Recent work points to an unrecognized role for nonspecific T cells in maintaining granuloma function in the chronic phase of infection. In addition, it has become clear that mycobacteria and host T cells collaborate in formation of granulomas. Further understanding of how nonspecific T cells contribute to granuloma formation, as well as how bacteria and T cells maintain a harmonious relationship over the life of the host, will facilitate the development of new strategies to treat mycobacterial disease.

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