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J Infect Dis. 2002 Feb 15;185(4):513-20. Epub 2002 Jan 31.

Differential T and B cell responses against Mycobacterium tuberculosis heparin-binding hemagglutinin adhesin in infected healthy individuals and patients with tuberculosis.

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Laboratory of Immunology, Erasme Hospital, Brussels, Belgium.


Because only 10% of individuals infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis will eventually develop disease, antigens that are recognized differently by the immune systems of infected healthy and diseased subjects may constitute potential vaccine candidates. Here, the heparin-binding hemagglutinin adhesin (HBHA) is identified as such an antigen. Lymphocytes from 60% of healthy infected individuals (n=25) produced interferon (IFN)-gamma after stimulation with HBHA, compared with only 4% of patients with active tuberculosis (n=24). In the responders, both CD4(+) and CD8(+) cells secreted HBHA-specific IFN-gamma, and the antigen was presented by both major histocompatibility complex class I and II molecules. In contrast to the reduced ability of patients with tuberculosis to produce HBHA-specific IFN-gamma, most of them (82%) produced anti-HBHA antibodies, compared with 36% of the infected healthy subjects. These observations indicate that HBHA is recognized differently by the immune systems of patients with tuberculosis and infected healthy individuals and might provide a marker for protection against tuberculosis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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