The marriage of two scourges, one old (mycobacterial disease) and one new (HIV), has presented an enormous challenge to the medical and public health communities, and has stirred renewed interest in mechanisms for immune control of mycobacterial infection. Virulence of both m. avium and M. tuberculosis appears to be inversely related to the capacity of the microorganisms to induce production of protective cytokines in infected hosts. TNFα and IFNγ are central to this process, and mycobacterial polysaccharides may be their main determinant. Despite these similarities, M. tuberculosis and M. avium cause illnesses at the polar extremes of HIV disease. Tuberculosis, occurring early in the course of HIV disease, may promote HIV replication in otherwise latently infected cells via induction of cytokines. As such, the potential exists for accelerated progression to AIDS due to the mutual synergy of these pathogens.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology