Circulating, Mycobacterium tuberculosis-specific lymphocytes from PPD skin test-negative patients with tuberculosis do not secrete interferon-gamma (IFN-γ) and lack the cutaneous lymphocyte antigen skin-selective homing receptor

Z. I. Magnani, C. Confetti, G. Besozzi, L. R. Codecasa, P. Panina-Bordignon, R. Lang, G. A. Rossi, R. Pardi, S. E. Burastero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Individuals with a negative intradermal reaction to tuberculin PPD have long been described in the Mycobacterium tuberculosis exposed, immune- competent population. Here, we studied PPD-specific blood T lymphocytes from these subjects for phenotypic markers relevant to skin migration, including the expression of the skin-selective homing receptor, the cutaneous lymphocyte-associated antigen (CLA). Out of 82 patients with active tuberculosis we identified four subjects who were repeatedly PPD skin test- negative. CD4 T lymphocytes specific to mycobacterial antigens were derived from these individuals, which (i) proliferated in vitro to M. tuberculosis antigens comparably to those from PPD+ patients; (ii) secreted comparable amounts of IL-2 but lower amounts of IFN-γ; (iii) were confined within the CLA-negative T cell subset. We conclude that the negative tuberculin reaction in a small subset of patients exposed to mycobacteria is associated with impaired production of IFN-γ by circulating PPD-specific T cells that are lacking CLA expression. On this basis in vitro proliferation to PPD can discriminate bona fide non-responders from infected patients with a deficit in the margination of M. tuberculosis-specific T lymphocytes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-106
Number of pages8
JournalClinical and Experimental Immunology
Volume119
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2000

Keywords

  • Cutaneous lymphocyte antigen
  • Skin test
  • Tuberculosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology

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