Quantitative evaluation of T-cell response after specific antigen stimulation in active and latent tuberculosis infection in adults and children

Diagn Microbiol Infect Dis. 2009 Nov;65(3):236-46. doi: 10.1016/j.diagmicrobio.2009.07.015.


We have evaluated the quantitative T-cell response after specific Mycobacterium tuberculosis antigen stimulation in active tuberculosis (TB) and latent TB infection (LTBI) patients. In adults, the median number of T cells after RD1 antigen stimulation was significantly higher in active TB patients than in LTBI patients. In children, the number of responder T cells against the specific antigens was higher in active TB than in LTBI patients, although the differences were not significant. In summary, in patients with suspected clinical TB, although there is overlapping in the number of responder T cells between both groups, a T-cell count above the described threshold could suggest active TB, especially in patients with a high probability of having active TB and low probability of having LTBI. In addition, the results are consistent with the current evidence that T-cell response may indicate mycobacterial burden and disease activity.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Antigens, Bacterial / immunology
  • Bacterial Proteins / immunology
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay / methods*
  • Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte / immunology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Latent Tuberculosis / diagnosis*
  • Latent Tuberculosis / immunology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • ROC Curve
  • Reagent Kits, Diagnostic
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Tuberculosis / diagnosis*
  • Tuberculosis / immunology


  • Antigens, Bacterial
  • Bacterial Proteins
  • CFP-10 protein, Mycobacterium tuberculosis
  • ESAT-6 protein, Mycobacterium tuberculosis
  • Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte
  • Reagent Kits, Diagnostic