T-cell Responses to the Mycobacterium Tuberculosis-Specific Antigens in Active Tuberculosis Patients at the Beginning, During, and After Antituberculosis Treatment

Diagn Microbiol Infect Dis. 2009 Jan;63(1):43-51. doi: 10.1016/j.diagmicrobio.2008.09.010. Epub 2008 Nov 21.


The objectives of the study were to assess the performance of the QuantiFERON-TB Gold In-Tube (QFN-G-IT) and the T-SPOT.TB tests in the immunodiagnosis of active tuberculosis (TB) in adult patients, and to study the T-cell interferon gamma (IFN-gamma) responses during treatment and in patients who have recovered after curative treatment and self-healed TB patients. When only analyzing patients included at the beginning of treatment, the sensitivity was 83.3% for T-SPOT.TB and 69.4% for QFN-G-IT. In contrast, when evaluating patients during treatment, the sensitivity of the T-SPOT.TB and QFN-G-IT decreased to 69.8% and 48.8%, respectively. The response to the specific antigens increased after finishing the treatment compared with the values during the treatment. The T-SPOT.TB was more sensitive in diagnosing active TB than the QFN-G-IT. The IFN-gamma tests could be used as a complementary method in the diagnosis of active TB.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antigens, Bacterial / immunology*
  • Antitubercular Agents / therapeutic use
  • Bacterial Proteins / immunology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Tests / methods
  • Interferon-gamma / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Tuberculin Test
  • Tuberculosis / drug therapy
  • Tuberculosis / immunology*
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / drug therapy
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / immunology*


  • Antigens, Bacterial
  • Antitubercular Agents
  • Bacterial Proteins
  • CFP-10 protein, Mycobacterium tuberculosis
  • ESAT-6 protein, Mycobacterium tuberculosis
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis antigens
  • Interferon-gamma