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J Infect Dis. 2006 Feb 1;193(3):354-9. Epub 2005 Dec 29.

Effect of treatment of latent tuberculosis infection on the T cell response to Mycobacterium tuberculosis antigens.

Author information

1
Wellcome Trust Center for Research in Clinical Tropical Medicine, Division of Medicine, Imperial College London, Wright Fleming Institute, UK. r.j.wilkinson@imperial.ac.uk

Abstract

Most cases of latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) do not cause symptoms during the lifetime of the infected person. Longitudinal analysis of the immune response of healthy Mycobacterium tuberculosis-infected people might, therefore, give insight into the basis of protective immunity. In a longitudinal study, we documented the effect that treatment had on the T cell response to M. tuberculosis antigens in 33 healthy people with LTBI. Preventive treatment of LTBI resulted in a 1.8-fold average increase in the numbers of interferon (IFN)- gamma -producing T cells within 26 +/- 4 days (P = .006), followed by a decrease by the end of the treatment period (82 +/- 6 days; P = .004). There was no significant overall change in the T cell response to any antigen in a control group (n = 8) of patients who elected radiological follow-up. Using live M. tuberculosis strain H37Rv as a stimulant in an enzyme-linked immunospot assay in sensitized individuals, we showed that isoniazid, but not rifampin, led to an increase in the number of IFN- gamma -producing cells. These results suggest that the integrity of the bacterial cell wall is important for M. tuberculosis in avoiding immune recognition by T cells and favor a dynamic model of LTBI.

PMID:
16388482
DOI:
10.1086/499311
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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