Extensive work illustrating the importance of cellular immune mechanisms for protection against Mycobacterium tuberculosis has largely relegated B-cell biology to an afterthought within the tuberculosis (TB) field. However, recent studies have illustrated that B lymphocytes, through a variety of interactions with the cellular immune response, play previously underappreciated roles in shaping host defense against non-viral intracellular pathogens, including M. tuberculosis. Work in our laboratory has recently shown that, by considering these lymphocytes more broadly within their variety of interactions with cellular immunity, B cells have a significant impact on the outcome of airborne challenge with M. tuberculosis as well as the resultant inflammatory response. In this review, we advocate for a revised view of TB immunology in which roles of cellular and humoral immunity are not mutually exclusive. In the context of our current understanding of host defense against non-viral intracellular infections, we review recent data supporting a more significant role of B cells during M. tuberculosis infection than previously thought.
- B cells
- Fcγ receptors