Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Differential cellular recognition pattern to M. tuberculosis targets defined by IFN-γ and IL-17 production in blood from TB + patients from Honduras as compared to health care workers: TB and immune responses in patients from Honduras

Nancy Alvarez-Corrales12, Raija K Ahmed3, Carol A Rodriguez1, Kithiganahalli N Balaji4, Rebeca Rivera1, Ramakrishna Sompallae5, Nalini K Vudattu6, Sven E Hoffner3, Alimuddin Zumla7, Lelany Pineda-Garcia1* and Markus Maeurer289*

Author affiliations

1 Escuela de Microbiología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Honduras (UNAH), Tegucigalpa, Honduras

2 Department of Microbiology, Tumor and Cell Biology (MTC), Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden

3 Swedish Institute for Communicable Disease Control (SMI), Stockholm, Sweden

4 Department of Microbiology and Cell Biology, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India

5 Department of Pathology, University of Iowa, Iowa city, IA, USA

6 Department of Immunobiology, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA

7 Department of Infection, University College London Medical School, Windeyer Institute of Medical Sciences, London, UK

8 Center for allogeneic stem cell transplantation (CAST), Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden

9 Department of Laboratory Medicine, Division of Therapeutic Immunology, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden

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Citation and License

BMC Infectious Diseases 2013, 13:125  doi:10.1186/1471-2334-13-125

Published: 6 March 2013



A better understanding of the quality of cellular immune responses directed against molecularly defined targets will guide the development of TB diagnostics and identification of molecularly defined, clinically relevant M.tb vaccine candidates.


Recombinant proteins (n = 8) and peptide pools (n = 14) from M. tuberculosis (M.tb) targets were used to compare cellular immune responses defined by IFN-γ and IL-17 production using a Whole Blood Assay (WBA) in a cohort of 148 individuals, i.e. patients with TB + (n = 38), TB- individuals with other pulmonary diseases (n = 81) and individuals exposed to TB without evidence of clinical TB (health care workers, n = 29).


M.tb antigens Rv2958c (glycosyltransferase), Rv2962c (mycolyltransferase), Rv1886c (Ag85B), Rv3804c (Ag85A), and the PPE family member Rv3347c were frequently recognized, defined by IFN-γ production, in blood from healthy individuals exposed to M.tb (health care workers). A different recognition pattern was found for IL-17 production in blood from M.tb exposed individuals responding to TB10.4 (Rv0288), Ag85B (Rv1886c) and the PPE family members Rv0978c and Rv1917c.


The pattern of immune target recognition is different in regard to IFN-γ and IL-17 production to defined molecular M.tb targets in PBMCs from individuals frequently exposed to M.tb. The data represent the first mapping of cellular immune responses against M.tb targets in TB patients from Honduras.

T-cells; M. tuberculosis; TB; Antigen-recognition; Biomarkers