Frequency of Mycobacterium tuberculosis-specific CD8+ T-cells in the course of anti-tuberculosis treatment

Int J Infect Dis. 2015 Mar;32:23-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ijid.2015.01.017.


Anti-tuberculosis drug treatment is known to affect the number, phenotype, and effector functionality of antigen-specific T-cells. In order to objectively gauge Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB)-specific CD8+ T-cells at the single-cell level, we developed soluble major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I multimers/peptide multimers, which allow analysis of antigen-specific T-cells without ex vivo manipulation or functional tests. We constructed 38 MHC class I multimers covering some of the most frequent MHC class I alleles (HLA-A*02:01, A*24:02, A*30:01, A*30:02, A*68:01, B*58:01, and C*07:01) pertinent to a South African or Zambian population, and presenting the following MTB-derived peptides: the early expressed secreted antigens TB10.4 (Rv0288), Ag85B (Rv1886c), and ESAT-6 (Rv3875), as well as intracellular enzymes, i.e., glycosyltransferase 1 (Rv2957), glycosyltransferase 2 (Rv2958c), and cyclopropane fatty acid synthase (Rv0447c). Anti-TB treatment appeared to impact on the frequency of multimer-positive CD8+ T-cells, with a general decrease after 6 months of therapy. Also, a reduction in the total central memory CD8+ T-cell frequencies, as well as the antigen-specific compartment in CD45RA-CCR7+ T-cells was observed. We discuss our findings on the basis of differential dynamics of MTB-specific T-cell frequencies, impact of MTB antigen load on T-cell phenotype, and antigen-specific T-cell responses in tuberculosis.

Keywords: CD8+ T-cells; MHC; Multimers; Mycobacterium tuberculosis; Tetramers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alleles
  • Antigens, Bacterial / immunology
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Female
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I / genetics
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / immunology*
  • Tuberculosis / drug therapy
  • Tuberculosis / immunology*
  • Young Adult


  • Antigens, Bacterial
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I