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J Infect Dis. 2007 Mar 15;195(6):870-8. Epub 2007 Feb 1.

Immunosuppression during active tuberculosis is characterized by decreased interferon- gamma production and CD25 expression with elevated forkhead box P3, transforming growth factor- beta , and interleukin-4 mRNA levels.

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Molecular Biology and Human Genetics, Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Stellenbosch, Cape Town, 7505, South Africa.


The balance between effector and regulatory responses after Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection may dictate outcome and progression to active disease. We investigated effector and regulatory T cell responses in bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG)-stimulated peripheral blood mononuclear cells and whole blood cultures from persons with active tuberculosis (TB), persons with TB at the end of 6 months of treatment, and healthy control subjects with latent TB infection. All 3 groups displayed BCG-induced increases in effector and regulatory T cell phenotypes as defined by CD4(+)CD25(lo) and CD4(+)CD25(hi) T cells, respectively. In case patients with active disease, BCG stimulation induced the lowest increase of CD25, CD4(+)CD25(hi), CTLA-4, and interferon- gamma . However, these case patients expressed the highest mRNA levels of forkhead box P3, transforming growth factor (TGF)- beta , and interleukin (IL)-4 and a lower T-bet : GATA-3 ratio. There were no significant differences in IL-4 delta 2, IL-10, or TGF- beta receptor-II mRNA expression between groups. Together, these results suggest that immunosuppression seen after mycobacterial stimulation in case patients with active TB is associated with naturally occurring regulatory T cells.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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