Mycobacterium tuberculosis kills more people than any other single pathogen, with an estimated one-third of the world's population being infected. Among those infected, only 10% will develop the disease. There are several demonstrations that susceptibility to tuberculosis is linked to host genetic factors in twins, family and associated-based case control studies. In the past years, there has been dramatic improvement in our understanding of the role of innate and adaptive immunity in the human host defense to tuberculosis. To date, attention has been paid to the role of genetic host and parasitic factors in tuberculosis pathogenesis mainly regarding innate and adaptive immune responses and their complex interactions. Many studies have focused on the candidate genes for tuberculosis susceptibility ranging from those expressed in several cells from the innate or adaptive immune system such as Toll-like receptors, cytokines (TNF-α, TGF-β, IFN-γ, IL-1b, IL-1RA, IL-12, IL-10), nitric oxide synthase and vitamin D, both nuclear receptors and their carrier, the vitamin D-binding protein (VDBP). The identification of possible genes that can promote resistance or susceptibility to tuberculosis could be the first step to understanding disease pathogenesis and can help to identify new tools for treatment and vaccine development. Thus, in this mini-review, we summarize the current state of investigation on some of the genetic determinants, such as the candidate polymorphisms of vitamin D, VDBP, Toll-like receptor, nitric oxide synthase 2 and interferon-γ genes, to generate resistance or susceptibility to M. tuberculosis infection
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