Previous studies have identified whole-blood transcriptional risk and disease signatures for tuberculosis; however, several lines of evidence suggest that these signatures primarily reflect bacterial burden, which increases before symptomatic disease. We found that the peripheral blood transcriptome of mice with contained Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection (CMTI) has striking similarities to that of humans with active tuberculosis and that a signature derived from these mice predicts human disease with accuracy comparable to that of signatures derived directly from humans. A set of genes associated with immune defense are up-regulated in mice with CMTI but not in humans with active tuberculosis, suggesting that their up-regulation is associated with bacterial containment. A signature comprising these genes predicts both protection from tuberculosis disease and successful treatment at early time points where current signatures are not predictive. These results suggest that detailed study of the CMTI model may enable identification of biomarkers for human tuberculosis.
Keywords: Tuberculosis; blood transcription; cross-species; signature of risk.
© The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press for the Infectious Diseases Society of America.