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Clin Exp Immunol. 1993 Aug;93(2):172-7.

A comparison of the T cell delayed-type hypersensitivity epitopes of the 19-kD antigens from Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Myco. intracellulare using overlapping synthetic peptides.

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Laboratory of Mycobacteria, US FDA, Rockville, MD 20852-1448.


Mycobacterial disease remains a serious international public health concern. Improved methods to rapidly and specifically detect mycobacterial infections would greatly enhance clinical management of these diseases. To define species-specific T cell epitopes that may be useful for the immunodiagnosis of mycobacterial infections, polymerized synthetic peptides from the 19-kD Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Myco. intracellulare protein homologues were tested in guinea pig DTH assays. Five Myco. tuberculosis and eight Myco. intracellulare peptides evoked skin test responses. Although all of the active Myco. tuberculosis and seven of the Myco. intracellulare peptides elicited non-specific DTH reactions, the peptide IN13 induced a Myco. intracellulare-specific skin test reaction, and thus represents a specific Myco. intracellulare T cell DTH epitope. This result suggests that the development of monospecific peptide-based immunodiagnostic reagents may be feasible for future clinical use.

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