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Immunological basis of early clearance of Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection: the role of natural killer cells
  • Fekadu Abebe
Fekadu Abebe
University of Oslo Faculty of Medicine
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Abstract

Tuberculosis kills more people than any other single infectious disease globally. Despite decades of research, there is no vaccine to prevent TB transmission. Bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccine developed a century ago has little effect on pulmonary TB and does not control transmission. Lack of an effective vaccine emanates from lack of knowledge on correlates of protective immunity on which to base vaccine design and development. However, some household contacts who are extensively exposed to Mtb infection remain persistently negative to tuberculin skin test and interferon-gamma assay. These individuals called “resisters” clear Mtb infection early before the development of acquired immunity. The immunological basis of early Mtb clearance is yet to be established, however, innate lymphocytes such as monocytes/macrophages, dendritic cells, neutrophils and natural killer cells, and innate like T cells such as mucosal associated invariant T cells, invariant natural killer T cells and gamma-delta (γδ) T cells have been implicated in this early protection. One of the cells that has attracted increasing attention in recent years, in protection against Mtb is the natural killer cell. Emerging data from animal and epidemiological studies indicate that NK cells may play a significant role in the fight against Mtb. NK cells express various surface markers to recognize and kill both Mtb and Mtb-infected cells. In this review, recent advances in our understanding of NK cells in the fight against Mtb early during infection, with emphasis on cohort studies, will be presented.

Peer review status:Published

28 Sep 2020Submitted to Clinical & Experimental Immunology
28 Sep 2020Submission Checks Completed
28 Sep 2020Assigned to Editor
05 Oct 2020Reviewer(s) Assigned
23 Nov 2020Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
23 Nov 2020Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
02 Dec 20201st Revision Received
03 Dec 2020Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
07 Dec 2020Editorial Decision: Accept
14 Dec 2020Published in Clinical & Experimental Immunology. 10.1111/cei.13565