Serological markers of pulmonary tuberculosis and of response to anti-tuberculosis treatment in a patient population in Guinea

Int J Immunopathol Pharmacol. 2006 Jan-Mar;19(1):199-208.


The aim of the study was to evaluate serological correlates of active tuberculosis and of response to antituberculosis treatment in a cohort of HIV-negative patients with pulmonary tuberculosis studied at diagnosis and during treatment at the Service de Pneumo-Phtisiologie, Centre Hospitalier-Universitaire Ignace Deen, Conakry, Republic of Guinea. Two similar cohorts of HIV-negative healthy households of patients and healthy community controls were included in the study. Plasma samples were obtained from 168 untreated tuberculosis patients, 167 healthy household controls, and 168 healthy community controls. Serial plasma samples were also obtained from the tuberculosis patients at 2 and 8 months after initiation of chemotherapy. IgG antibody levels were measured by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) using ten purified M. tuberculosis antigens. ELISA results were analysed by comparing geometric means of data. Of the ten antigens tested, five (14kDa Ag, 19kDa Ag, AlaDH, MS, and MPT83) elicited similar antibody responses in untreated TB patients and controls. In contrast, levels of three antibodies (ESAT-6, LAM, and 38kDa Ag) were higher in untreated TB patients than in household or community controls (p<0.0001). Levels were higher in untreated patients than in community controls also for the anti-Rv2626c antibody (p = 0.0001) and, at a lower significance level, for the anti-FdxA antibody (p<0.025). Antibody levels against ESAT-6 and Rv2626c decreased during therapy, while antibody levels to the 38 kDa antigen and LAM increased during therapy; FdxA antibody levels did not vary with treatment. Neither severity of presentation nor chest X-ray patterns affected levels of these antibodies before treatment. In contrast, after the 8-month therapeutic course, patients who presented with moderate/severe disease had higher levels of anti-ESAT-6, anti-FdxA, and anti-38kDa antibodies than those of patients with mild disease onset. Patients with bilateral lung lesions had significantly higher anti-38kDa and anti-LAM levels, both at diagnosis and after 8-month treatment, than patients with lesions involving only one lung. Antibodies to alanine dehydrogenase and malate synthetase measured at initiation of treatment were higher in tuberculosis patients who subsequently failed therapy than in those who were cured. The main conclusions of the study are: a) plasma levels of antibodies to a number of M. tuberculosis represent serological correlates of active disease; b) these correlates are affected in an antigen-specific fashion by anti-tuberculosis treatment; c) particular serological markers may be predictive of treatment outcome.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antigens, Bacterial / analysis
  • Antigens, Bacterial / blood
  • Antitubercular Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Bacterial Proteins / analysis
  • Biomarkers
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Escherichia coli / metabolism
  • Female
  • Guinea
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G / analysis
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / blood*
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / therapy*


  • Antigens, Bacterial
  • Antitubercular Agents
  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Biomarkers
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Recombinant Proteins