Introduction: Contemporary phase 2 TB disease treatment clinical trials have found that microbiologic treatment responses differ between African versus non-African regions, the reasons for which remain unclear. Understanding host and disease phenotypes that may vary by region is important for optimizing curative treatments.
Methods: We characterized clinical features and the serum proteome of phase 2 TB clinical trial participants undergoing treatment for smear positive, culture-confirmed TB, comparing host serum protein expression in clinical trial participants enrolled in African and Non-African regions. Serum samples were collected from 289 participants enrolled in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention TBTC Study 29 (NCT00694629) at time of enrollment and at the end of the intensive phase (after 40 doses of TB treatment).
Results: After a peptide level proteome analysis utilizing a unique liquid chromatography IM-MS platform (LC-IM-MS) and subsequent statistical analysis, a total of 183 core proteins demonstrated significant differences at both baseline and at week 8 timepoints between participants enrolled from African and non-African regions. The majority of the differentially expressed proteins were upregulated in participants from the African region, and included acute phase proteins, mediators of inflammation, as well as coagulation and complement pathways. Downregulated proteins in the African population were primarily linked to nutritional status and lipid metabolism pathways.
Conclusions: We have identified differentially expressed nutrition and lipid pathway proteins by geographic region in TB patients undergoing treatment for pulmonary tuberculosis, which appear to be associated with differential treatment responses. Future TB clinical trials should collect expanded measures of nutritional status and further evaluate the relationship between nutrition and microbiologic treatment response.