Tavares RC, Salgado J, Moreira VB, Ferreira MA, Mello FC, Leung JW, Fonseca Lde S, Spallek R, Singh M, Saad MH.
Several antigens of Mycobacterium tuberculosis have been identified and specificity to one or multiple antigens could determine the distinction between protective and pathogenic host reaction. Therefore T cell immune response to combinations 38 kDa/CFP-10, 38 kDa/MPT-64, ESAT-6/MPT-64 and ESAT-6/CFP-10 (each related to a single protein of Mycobacterium tuberculosis) in individuals from tuberculosis endemic areas have been examined. ELISA was used to detect IFN-gamma production in PBMC priming with single proteins and combinations in a panel of 105 individuals: 38 tuberculosis patients (6 untreated and 32 treated) and 67 healthy controls with tuberculin skin test positive or negative (TST). Brazilian TB patients highly recognized ESAT-6 (66%), but combinations improved response in the following order: ESAT-6/MPT-64 (89%) > ESAT-6/CFP-10 (73%) > 38 kDa/CFP-10 (70%), the last combination showing the highest specificity (TST(/) = 42% and TST(-) = 83%). Average IFN-gamma production in TB patients was signifi-cantly higher for 38 kDa/CFP-10 (P = 0.012) and 38 kDa/MPT-64 (P <0.035), when compared to single antigens.
None of the combinations was able to discriminate TB patients from TST(+) controls; however, 38 kDa/CFP-10 displayed a borderline significance (P = 0.053). Similar to the ESAT-6/CFP-10 combination, IFN-gamma response to 38 kDa/CFP-10 showed an increased tendency in treated patients, although not signifi-cant (P = 0.16). We demonstrated for the first time that 38 kDa/CFP-10 had prediction sensitivity for TB patients similar to the ESAT-6/CFP-10 combination and also significant response improvement related to the single proteins with more selective reactivity among TST-positive individuals, which could be of potential interest for diagnostic evaluation for tuberculosis infection.