Author(s): Bapat PR, Husain AA, Daginawala HF, Agrawal NP, Panchbhai MS,
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Abstract The tuberculin skin test (TST) and interferon-gamma release assays (IGRA), namely, the QuantiFERON-TB Gold test (QFT), remain the standard immunological diagnostic tools for latent tuberculosis (TB) infection (LTBI). However, the sub-optimal detection rates of both of these tests are major impediments in recognizing the population at risk. This study was aimed at evaluating additional cytokines besides interferon-gamma (IFN-γ) as biomarkers for improving LTBI diagnosis in the tribal population of Melghat, India. Seventy-four close TB contacts were stratified by QFT and TST results into: (i) QFT+/TST+ (n = 26), (ii) QFT+/TST- (n = 12), (iii) QFT-/TST- (n = 35) and (iv) QFT-/TST+ (n = 1) groups. A panel of cytokines (IL-6, IL-10, TNF-α and IL-2R) was then evaluated in antigen-stimulated QFT cell-free culture supernatants using IMMULITE-1000, an automated immunoassay analyzer. Cytokine estimation showed significantly higher levels of IL-6 in the QFT+/TST+ group, while significantly higher levels of IL-10 were found in the QFT-/TST- group. Correlation analysis identified a positive correlation between IL-6 and the QFT response (r = 0.6723, P < 0.0001), while a negative correlation was seen between QFT and IL-10 expression (r = -0.3271, P = 0.0044). Similarly, IL-6 was positively correlated with TST levels (r = 0.6631, P <0 .0001), and conversely, a negative correlation was found between TST and IL-10 expression (r = -0.5698, P < 0.0001). The positive and negative predictive values of IL-6 were found to be 92.59 and 93.33\%, respectively, and the positive and negative predictive values of IL-10 were 96.55 and 91.18\%, respectively. No significant impact of the demographic characteristics on cytokine positivity was observed. Our preliminary results suggest that the evaluation of additional cytokines in QFT cell-free culture supernatants may be valuable for the identification of LTBI. Combining IL-6 and IL-10 with QFT and/or TST could markedly improve the detection accuracy of LTBI. Our observations require investigation in larger well-characterized cohorts along with follow-up studies to further confirm the study outcome. Copyright © 2015 King Saud Bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
This article was published in J Infect Public Health
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Cellular Immunology