SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Summary

Infection of humans with Mycobacterium tuberculosis remains frequent and may still lead to death. After primary infection, the immune system is often able to control M. tuberculosis infection over a prolonged latency period, but a decrease in immune function (from HIV to immunosenescence) leads to active disease. Available vaccines against tuberculosis are restricted to BCG, a live vaccine with an attenuated strain of M. bovis. Immunodeficiency may not only be associated with an increased risk of tuberculosis, but also with local or disseminated BCG infection. Genetic deficiency in the reactive oxygen species (ROS)-producing phagocyte NADPH oxidase NOX2 is called chronic granulomatous disease (CGD). CGD is among the most common primary immune deficiencies. Here we review our knowledge on the importance of NOX2-derived ROS in mycobacterial infection. A literature review suggests that human CGD patient frequently have an increased susceptibility to BCG and to M. tuberculosis. In vitro studies and experiments with CGD mice are incomplete and yielded – at least in part – contradictory results. Thus, although observations in human CGD patients leave little doubt about the role of NOX2 in the control of mycobacteria, further studies will be necessary to unequivocally define and understand the role of ROS.