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Immunol Rev. 2008 Oct;225:284-99. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-065X.2008.00693.x.

Early T-cell responses in tuberculosis immunity.

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New York State Department of Health, Wadsworth Center, Albany, NY 12208, USA.


Tuberculosis (TB) has plagued mankind for millennia yet is classified as an emerging infectious disease, because its prevalence in the human population continues to increase. Immunity to TB depends critically on the generation of effective CD4(+) T-cell responses. Sterile immunity has not been achieved through vaccination, although early T-cell responses are effective in controlling steady-state infection in the lungs. Although such early T-cell responses are clearly protective, the initiation of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) T-cell response occurs much later than is the case following other aerogenic infections. This fact suggests that there is a critical period, before the activation of the T-cell response, in which Mtb is able to establish infection. An understanding of the factors that regulate early T-cell activation should, therefore, lead to better control of the disease. This review discusses recent work that has investigated the early development of T-cell immunity following Mtb infection in the mouse.

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