Tuberculosis (TB) accounts for disproportionate morbidity and mortality among persons living with HIV (PLWH). Conventional methods of TB diagnosis, including smear microscopy and Xpert MTB/RIF, have lower sensitivity in PLWH. Novel high-throughput approaches, such as miRNAomics and metabolomics, may advance our ability to recognize subclinical and difficult-to-diagnose TB, especially in very advanced HIV. We conducted a case-control study leveraging REMEMBER, a multi-country, open-label randomized controlled trial comparing 4-drug empiric standard TB treatment with isoniazid preventive therapy in PLWH initiating antiretroviral therapy (ART) with CD4 cell counts <50 cells/μL. Twenty-three cases of incident TB were site-matched with 32 controls to identify microRNAs (miRNAs), metabolites, and cytokines/chemokines, associated with the development of newly diagnosed TB in PLWH. Differentially expressed miRNA analysis revealed 11 altered miRNAs with a fold change higher than 1.4 or lower than -1.4 in cases relative to controls (p<0.05). Our analysis revealed no differentially abundant metabolites between cases and controls. We found higher TNFα and IP-10/CXCL10 in cases (p=0.011, p=0.0005), and higher MDC/CCL22 in controls (p=0.0072). A decision-tree algorithm identified gamma-glutamylthreonine and hsa-miR-215-5p as the optimal variables to classify incident TB cases (AUC 0.965; 95% CI 0.925-1.000). hsa-miR-215-5p, which targets genes in the TGF-β signaling pathway, was downregulated in cases. Gamma-glutamylthreonine, a breakdown product of protein catabolism, was less abundant in cases. To our knowledge, this is one of the first uses of a multi-omics approach to identify incident TB in severely immunosuppressed PLWH.
Keywords: HIV; biomarker; metabolomics; microRNA; multi-omics; tuberculosis.
Copyright © 2021 Krishnan, Queiroz, Gupta, Gupte, Bisson, Kumwenda, Naidoo, Mohapi, Mave, Mngqibisa, Lama, Hosseinipour, Andrade and Karakousis.