Diagnostic significance of circulating immune complexes in patients with pulmonary tuberculosis

J Med Microbiol. 1992 Feb;36(2):128-31. doi: 10.1099/00222615-36-2-128.


A polyethylene glycol (PEG) precipitation method was used to examine sera of patients with active pulmonary tuberculosis (PT), leprosy and non-tuberculous pulmonary diseases and of healthy control subjects for immune complexes (ICs). Mycobacterium tuberculosis antigen 5 was detected in the ICs in 80% of patients with PT by the indirect (sandwich) enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Detection of mycobacterial antigen in ICs has diagnostic potential as an adjunct in the laboratory diagnosis of PT, particularly when repeated bacteriological investigations for M. tuberculosis in clinical specimens are negative. Levels of ICs tend to decrease with the duration of anti-tuberculosis chemotherapy and their detection can also be used to assess the clinical response to therapy in patients with PT.

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Bacterial / analysis
  • Antigen-Antibody Complex / analysis*
  • Antigens, Bacterial / analysis
  • Complement C3 / analysis
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G / analysis
  • Tuberculin / analysis
  • Tuberculin / immunology
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / diagnosis*
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / immunology


  • Antibodies, Bacterial
  • Antigen-Antibody Complex
  • Antigens, Bacterial
  • Complement C3
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis antigen 5
  • Tuberculin