A Mycobacterium tuberculosis Dormancy Antigen Differentiates Latently Infected Bacillus Calmette-Guérin-vaccinated Individuals.
IFN-γ release assays (IGRAs) are better indicators of Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection than the tuberculin skin test (TST) in Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG)-vaccinated populations. However, IGRAs do not discriminate active and latent infections (LTBI) and no gold standard for LTBI diagnosis is available. Thus, since improved tests to diagnose M. tuberculosis infection are required, we assessed the efficacy of several M. tuberculosis latency antigens. BCG-vaccinated healthy donors (HD) and tuberculosis (TB) patients were recruited. QuantiFERON-TB Gold In-Tube, TST and clinical data were used to differentiate LTBI. IFN-γ production against CFP-10, ESAT-6, Rv2624c, Rv2626c and Rv2628 antigens was tested in peripheral blood mononuclear cells. LTBI subjects secreted significantly higher IFN-γ levels against Rv2626c than HD. Additionally, Rv2626c peptide pools to which only LTBI responded were identified, and their cumulative IFN-γ response improved LTBI discrimination. Interestingly, whole blood stimulation with Rv2626c allowed the discrimination between active and latent infections, since TB patients did not secrete IFN-γ against Rv2626c, in contrast to CFP-10 + ESAT-6 stimulation that induced IFN-γ response from both LTBI and TB patients. ROC analysis confirmed that Rv2626c discriminated LTBI from HD and TB patients. Therefore, since only LTBI recognizes specific epitopes from Rv2626c, this antigen could improve LTBI diagnosis, even in BCG-vaccinated people.Read the article