How tumour necrosis factor blockers interfere with tuberculosis immunity

James Harris, Joseph Keane

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

222 Citations (Scopus)


Tumour necrosis factor (TNF) is a potent inflammatory cytokine that plays an important role in immunity to numerous bacterial infections, including Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb), the causative agent of tuberculosis (TB) in humans. Infliximab, adalimumab, certolizumab pegol and etanercept are anti-TNF agents used to treat a range of inflammatory/autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis. The use of some of these drugs has been linked to reactivation TB. In addition to blocking TNF-mediated immune responses, some anti-TNF drugs have been found to interfere with innate immune responses, such as phagolysosomal maturation and monocyte apoptosis, as well as cell-mediated responses, including interferon-gamma secretion by memory T cells, complement-mediated lysis of Mtb-reactive CD8+ T cells and increased regulatory T cell activity. This review summarizes some of the reported effects of TNF blockers on immune cell responses in the context of the observed clinical data on TB reactivation in patients on anti-TNF therapy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1 - 9
Number of pages9
JournalClinical & Experimental Immunology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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