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Comp Med. 2003 Apr;53(2):165-72.

Antigen recognition by serum antibodies in non-human primates experimentally infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

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Public Health Research Institute, 225 Warren Street, Newark, New Jersy 07103, USA.


Tuberculosis is a significant threat to non-human primates and their caretakers. The diagnosis of tuberculosis in living non-human primates is currently based on the tuberculin skin test, which is cumbersome and sometimes inaccurate. Development of an accurate serodiagnostic test requires identification of the key antigens of Mycobacterium tuberculosis involved in antibody production. When sequential serum samples obtained from 17 cynomolgus, rhesus, and African green monkeys up to seven months since experimental infection with M. tuberculosis Erdman were screened for antibody against purified proteins of M. tuberculosis, three highly seroreactive antigens were identified. One protein, ESAT-6, reacted with sera from all infected animals. Two additional proteins, alpha-crystallin and MTSA-10, were recognized by sera from approximately 90% of infected animals. Time course analysis of antibody production indicated that the earliest response was usually to ESAT-6 alone or to ESAT-6 and other antigen(s). These results provide experimental evidence of the potential value of ESAT-6 as an antigen for use in serodiagnosis of tuberculosis in non-human primates.

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