Rapid diagnosis of CNS tuberculosis by a T-cell interferon-gamma release assay on cerebrospinal fluid mononuclear cells

Infection. 2008 Dec;36(6):597-600. doi: 10.1007/s15010-007-7316-0. Epub 2008 Jan 12.


Central nervous system tuberculosis remains a clinical diagnostic challenge. The ex vivo Mycobacterium tuberculosis-specific enzyme-linked immunospot assay (ELISPOT) is a novel assay for the rapid detection of M. tuberculosis-specific T-lymphocytes in the peripheral blood. However, when performed on peripheral blood, this assay cannot distinguish between active tuberculosis or latent tuberculosis infection. On the assumption that M. tuberculosis-specific T-lymphocytes migrate to sites of infection, we were able to demonstrate high levels of M. tuberculosis-specific cells by ELISPOT in the cerebrospinal fluid of a patient with tuberculous meningitis and intracerebral tuberculoma four weeks before cerebrospinal fluid culture became positive for M. tuberculosis by culture.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cerebrospinal Fluid / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Interferon-gamma / biosynthesis*
  • Male
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Time Factors
  • Tuberculoma, Intracranial / diagnosis
  • Tuberculoma, Intracranial / immunology
  • Tuberculoma, Intracranial / microbiology
  • Tuberculosis, Central Nervous System / diagnosis*
  • Tuberculosis, Central Nervous System / immunology
  • Tuberculosis, Central Nervous System / microbiology
  • Tuberculosis, Meningeal / diagnosis
  • Tuberculosis, Meningeal / immunology
  • Tuberculosis, Meningeal / microbiology


  • Interferon-gamma