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J Infect Dis. 2002 Nov 15;186(10):1448-57. Epub 2002 Oct 23.

Investigation of the relationships between immune-mediated inhibition of mycobacterial growth and other potential surrogate markers of protective Mycobacterium tuberculosis immunity.

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Division of Infectious Diseases and Immunology and Vaccine and Treatment Evaluation Unit, Saint Louis University Health Sciences Center, St. Louis, Missouri 63110, USA.


Tuberculosis (TB) vaccine development is hindered by the lack of clear surrogate markers of protective human immunity to Mycobacterium tuberculosis. This study evaluated the hypothesis that immune-mediated inhibition of mycobacterial growth would more directly correlate with protective TB immunity than other immunologic responses. Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccination, known to induce partial protection against TB, was used as a model system to investigate mechanistic relationships among different parameters of antigen-specific immunity. Effects of primary and booster intradermal BCG vaccinations were assessed in 3 distinct assays of mycobacterial inhibition. Correlations between vaccine-induced growth inhibition and other immune responses were analyzed. BCG significantly enhanced all antigen-specific responses. Peak responses occurred at 2 months after boosting. Statistical analyses suggested that each assay measured unique aspects of mycobacterial immunity. Despite previous evidence that type 1 immune responses are essential for TB immunity, interferon-gamma production did not correlate with mycobacterial inhibition. These results have important implications for TB vaccine development.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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