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Immunol Lett. 2006 Nov 15;107(2):93-101. Epub 2006 Aug 28.

Mantoux Test as a model for a secondary immune response in humans.

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Department of Immunology and Molecular Pathology, Division of Infection and Immunity, Windeyer Institute of Medical Sciences, University College London, London W1T 4JF, UK.


The Mantoux Test (MT) is a classical delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH) response to the intradermal injection of tuberculin purified protein derivative (PPD). It represents a cutaneous T cell mediated memory recall immune response. The test is typically used to determine immunity to tuberculosis in humans and positive reactions develop in individuals previously exposed to Mycobacterium tuberculosis, and those immunised with the Bacillus of Calmette and Guérin (BCG) vaccine. In view of its relative accessibility human skin represents a convenient tissue for the investigation of human immune responses. Using the MT, we have been able to determine that significant cellular proliferation and clonal expansion occur at the site of antigen deposition in the skin. Furthermore, cells undergoing proliferation in the skin also undergo accelerated differentiation. Taken together with other studies, in humans and in mice, these observations shed new light on the importance of the microenvironment at the site of the immune response for the proliferation and differentiation of memory T cells.

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