Despite past extensive studies, the role of B and T lymphocyte attenuator (BTLA) in αβ T cells in patients with active pulmonary tuberculosis (ATB) remains poorly understood. Here we demonstrate that BTLA expression on αβ T cells is decreased in patients with M. tuberculosis (Mtb) infection. Particularly, BTLA expression levels are likely critical for αβ T cells to manifest and maintain an active central memory phenotype with high capacity for secretion of IFN-γ and perforin, which are important for immune memory against TB infection. BTLA(high) αβ T cells also exhibited higher capacity in response to Mtb peptide stimulation. In contrast to the role of BTLA played for negative regulation of immune responses, our data in the current studies suggest that BTLA expression on αβ T cells is likely associated with protective immune memory against Mtb infection in the setting of patients with active pulmonary tuberculosis. This previous unappreciated role for BTLA may have implications for prevention and treatment of patients with Mtb infection.