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In vivo expression of innate immunity markers in patients with mycobacterium tuberculosis infection

Pantelis Constantoulakis1, Eftihia Filiou1, Nikoletta Rovina2*, George Chras2, Aggeliki Hamhougia3, Simona Karabela4, Adamandia Sotiriou2, Charis Roussos2 and Nikolaos Poulakis5

Author Affiliations

1 Locus Medicus, Molecular Pathology and Genetics Dept., Athens, Greece

2 National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Pulmonary Department, "Sotiria" District Chest Diseases Hospital; Athens, Greece

3 Mathematics Dept., University of Athens; Athens, Greece

4 National Center of Tuberculosis, Microbiology Dpt, "Sotiria" District Chest Diseases; Athens, Greece

5 1st Pulmonary Department, "Sotiria" District Chest Diseases Hospital. Athens, Greece

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BMC Infectious Diseases 2010, 10:243  doi:10.1186/1471-2334-10-243

Published: 18 August 2010



Toll-like receptors (TLRs), Coronin-1 and Sp110 are essential factors for the containment of Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection. The purpose of this study was to investigate the in vivo expression of these molecules at different stages of the infection and uncover possible relationships between these markers and the state of the disease.


Twenty-two patients with active tuberculosis, 15 close contacts of subjects with latent disease, 17 close contacts of subjects negative for mycobacterium antigens and 10 healthy, unrelated to patients, subjects were studied. Quantitative mRNA expression of Coronin-1, Sp110, TLRs-1,-2,-4 and -6 was analysed in total blood cells vs an endogenous house-keeping gene.


The mRNA expression of Coronin-1, Sp110 and TLR-2 was significantly higher in patients with active tuberculosis and subjects with latent disease compared to the uninfected ones. Positive linear correlation for the expression of those factors was only found in the infected populations.


Our results suggest that the up-regulation of Coronin-1 and Sp110, through a pathway that also includes TLR-2 up-regulation may be involved in the process of tuberculous infection in humans. However, further studies are needed, in order to elucidate whether the selective upregulation of these factors in the infected patients could serve as a specific molecular marker of tuberculosis.