Sequestration from immune CD4+ T cells of mycobacteria growing in human macrophages

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Science  14 May 1993:
Vol. 260, Issue 5110, pp. 984-986
DOI: 10.1126/science.8098550


CD4+ helper T cells mediate resistance to tuberculosis, presumably by enhancing the antimicrobial activity of macrophages within which the Mycobacterium tuberculosis organism grows. A first step in resistance should be the presentation of mycobacterial antigens by macrophages to CD4+ T cells. However, when the antigenic stimulus is limited to organisms growing in human monocytes, the organisms become sequestered from immune CD4+ T cells. This block in presentation is selective for growing mycobacteria and not for other stimuli. Sequestration would allow replicating organisms to persist in infected individuals and may contribute to virulence.