The role of B cells and humoral immunity in mycobacterium Tuberculosis infection

Lee Kozakiewicz, Jiayao Phuah, Joanne Flynn, John Chan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

109 Scopus citations


Tuberculosis (TB) remains a serious threat to public health, causing 2 million deaths annually world-wide. The control of TB has been hindered by the requirement of long duration of treatment involving multiple chemotherapeutic agents, the increased susceptibility to Mycobacterium Tuberculosis infection in the HIV-infected population, and the development of multi-drug resistant and extensively resistant strains of tubercle bacilli. An efficacious and cost-efficient way to control TB is the development of effective anti-TB vaccines. This measure requires thorough understanding of the immune response to M. Tuberculosis. While the role of cell-mediated immunity in the development of protective immune response to the tubercle bacillus has been well established, the role of B cells in this process is not clearly understood. Emerging evidence suggests that B cells and humoral immunity can modulate the immune response to various intracellular pathogens, including M. Tuberculosis. These lymphocytes form conspicuous aggregates in the lungs of tuberculous humans, non-human primates, and mice, which display features of germinal center B cells. In murine TB, it has been shown that B cells can regulate the level of granulomatous reaction, cytokine production, and the T cell response. This chapter discusses the potential mechanisms by which specific functions of B cells and humoral immunity can shape the immune response to intracellular pathogens in general, and to M. Tuberculosis in particular. Knowledge of the B cell-mediated immune response to M. Tuberculosis may lead to the design of novel strategies, including the development of effective vaccines, to better control TB.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe New Paradigm of Immunity to Tuberculosis
PublisherSpringer New York LLC
Number of pages26
ISBN (Print)9781461461104
StatePublished - 2013

Publication series

NameAdvances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
ISSN (Print)0065-2598


  • Antibodies
  • Antigen presentation
  • B cells
  • Cytokine production
  • Cytokines
  • Fcc receptors
  • Granuloma
  • Humoral immunity
  • Immunopathology
  • Macrophages
  • Myocobacterium Tuberculosis
  • Neutrophils
  • T cell responses

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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