Current status of immune mechanisms of killing of intracellular microorganims

Nahed Ismail, Juan P. Olano, Hui Min Feng, David H. Walker

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

78 Scopus citations


The interaction between intracellular pathogens and the mammalian host follows different pathways that reflect evolved survival mechanisms of both the pathogen and the host to assure each one's own survival. From the host's perspective, different immune mechanisms predominate at different stages of infection. Both phagocytic and non-phagocytic target cells participate in microbial uptake and, in some cases, intracellular destruction. In addition, the development of specific immunity ensures sustained activation of intracellular microbicidal mechanisms in the target cells, and induction of apoptotic or lytic target cell death by cytotoxic T lymphocytes. From the pathogen's perspective, different evasion strategies are employed to counteract host defenses. Understanding microbial survival strategies and the immune mechanisms that result in killing of intracellular pathogens will deepen our insight into the pathogenesis of infection that could be applied towards the development of effective vaccination and immunotherapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)111-120
Number of pages10
JournalFEMS Microbiology Letters
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 5 2002


  • Cellular immune response
  • Cytokine
  • Cytotoxic T lymphocytes
  • Innate immune response
  • Intracellular pathogen
  • Macrophage activation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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