Macrophage apoptosis occurs within the granuloma, which is essential for successful immunity to tuberculosis. In vitro macrophage apoptosis is associated with the killing of intracellular Mycobacterium tuberculosis. A greater understanding of these observations will lead to new immunotherapies and improved vaccine design. The relevant apoptotic stimuli, the anti-mycobacterial mechanisms that they stimulate and their physiological relevance are reviewed in this paper.

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