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European Journal of Medical Research

, 22:4

First Online: 26 January 2017Received: 23 August 2016Accepted: 13 December 2016DOI: 10.1186-s40001-016-0242-9

Cite this article as: Wang, J., Dai, Y., Liu, J. et al. Eur J Med Res 2017 22: 4. doi:10.1186-s40001-016-0242-9


ObjectiveTuberculosis TB, an infectious disease caused by the bacillus Mycobacterium tuberculosis MTB, is a global health problem. Because the failing immune response in the lung can lead to formation of a pulmonary cavity, this study was designed to clarify MTB-specific lymphocyte responses in TB patients with pulmonary cavities.

MethodsWe utilized culture filtrate protein 10 CFP-10 and early secretory antigenic target 6 ESAT-6 as immunogenic MTB antigens following overnight stimulation of peripheral blood mononuclear cells PBMCs. By flow cytometry, we then dissected CD4+ and CD8+ T lymphocytes secreting intracellular cytokines of IFN-γ and TNF-α to assess the local immune response of TB patients with pulmonary cavities compared with those having other radiological infiltrates.

ResultsAs expected, after 16 h of ex vivo activation using both ESAT-6 and CFP-10, the proportions of CD4+IFN-γ, CD4+TNF-α, CD8+TNF-α, and CD8+IFN-γ cells were all markedly increased in 46 patients with TB when compared with 23 household contacts. However, the IFN-γ and TNF-α responses of both CD4+ and CD8+ T lymphocytes were found to be relatively lower in 18 patients who had pulmonary cavities when compared with 28 patients who had radiological infiltrates. Moreover, patients with cavities had higher absolute numbers of neutrophils than patients with infiltrates. Further analysis indicated an inverse correlation between neutrophil counts and the proportions of IFN-γ-secreting T cells.

ConclusionMTB-specific lymphocyte responses are impaired in TB patients with pulmonary cavities that are likely to play an important role in the pathogenesis of cavitary TB.

KeywordsCavity Tuberculosis TNF-α IFN-γ AbbreviationsTBtuberculosis

MTBMycobacterium tuberculosis

CFP-10culture filtrate protein 10

ESAT-6early secretory antigenic target 6

FCMflow cytometry

ELISAenzyme linked immunoabsorbant assays

PBMCsperipheral blood mononuclear cells

CXRschest radiographs

PMAphorbol myfismte acetate

ECDenergy-coupled dye

FITCfluorescein isothiocyanate



WBCwhite blood cell

IQRinterquartile range

Jun Wang, Yaping Dai and Jun Liu contributed equally to this work

Autor: Jun Wang - Yaping Dai - Jun Liu - Yongmei Yin - Hao Pei


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