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Clin Vaccine Immunol. 2013 Jan;20(1):69-76. doi: 10.1128/CVI.00481-12. Epub 2012 Nov 7.

Mycobacterium tuberculosis region of difference (RD) 2 antigen Rv1985c and RD11 antigen Rv3425 have the promising potential to distinguish patients with active tuberculosis from M. bovis BCG-vaccinated individuals.

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  • 1Department of Infectious Diseases, Huashan Hospital, Fudan University, Shanghai, China.


Antigens encoded in the region of difference (RD) of Mycobacterium tuberculosis constitute a potential source of specific immunodiagnostic antigens for distinguishing tuberculosis (TB) infection from BCG vaccination. We evaluated the diagnostic potential of specific T-cell epitopes selected from two immunodominant antigens, Rv1985c and Rv3425, from RD2 and RD11, respectively, on the basis of epitope mapping, in TB patients and BCG-vaccinated healthy individuals. Using a whole-blood gamma interferon release assay, a wide array of epitopes was recognized on both Rv1985c and Rv3425 in TB patients. Those epitopes that could specifically discriminate TB infection from BCG vaccination were carefully selected, and the most promising peptide pools from Rv1985c showed a sensitivity of 53.9% and a specificity of 95.5%. When the novel specific peptides from Rv1985c joined the diagnostic antigens in the QuantiFERON-TB Gold In-Tube (QFT-IT) assay, the sensitivity was increased from 86.4% to 96.2%, with no drop in specificity. These results indicate that the peptide pools selected from Rv1985c and Rv3425 have the potential to diagnose TB infection by a method that may be routinely used in clinical laboratories.

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