Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex; Mycobacterium orygis; oryx bacillus; genotyping; characterization; bacteria; tuberculosis and other mycobacteria
In most of the world, microbiologic diagnosis of tuberculosis (TB) is limited to microscopy. Recent guidelines recommend culture-based diagnosis where feasible.
In order to evaluate the relative and absolute incremental diagnostic yield of culture-based diagnosis in a high-incidence community in Cape Town, South Africa, subjects evaluated for suspected TB had their samples processed for microscopy and culture over a 21 month period.
For 2537 suspect episodes with 2 smears and 2 cultures done, 20.0% (508) had at least one positive smear and 29.9% (760) had at least one positive culture. One culture yielded 1.8 times more cases as 1 smear (relative yield), or an increase of 12.0% (absolute yield). Based on the latter value, the number of cultures needed to diagnose (NND) one extra case of TB was 8, compared to 19 if second specimens were submitted for microscopy.
In a high-burden setting, the introduction of culture can markedly increase TB diagnosis over microscopy. The concept of number needed to diagnose can help in comparing incremental yield of diagnosis methods. Although new promising diagnostic molecular methods are being implemented, TB culture is still the gold standard.
Tuberculosis; Diagnosis; Culture; Microscopy
Genotyping of multidrug-resistant (MDR) Mycobacterium tuberculosis strains isolated from tuberculosis (TB) patients in four South African provinces (Western Cape, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, and Gauteng) revealed a distinct population structure of the MDR strains in all four regions, despite the evidence of substantial human migration between these settings. In all analyzed provinces, a negative correlation between strain diversity and an increasing level of drug resistance (from MDR-TB to extensively drug-resistant TB [XDR-TB]) was observed. Strains predominating in XDR-TB in the Western and Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal Provinces were strongly associated with harboring an inhA promoter mutation, potentially suggesting a role of these mutations in XDR-TB development in South Africa. Approximately 50% of XDR-TB cases detected in the Western Cape were due to strains probably originating from the Eastern Cape. This situation may illustrate how failure of efficient health care delivery in one setting can burden health clinics in other areas.
We have validated the association of two genes on chromosome 20q13.31–33 with tuberculosis susceptibility. A previous genome-wide linkage study performed by Cooke et al identified the genes melanocortin-3-receptor (MC3R) and cathepsin Z (CTSZ) as possible candidates in tuberculosis susceptibility. MC3R has been implicated in obesity studies and is known to play a role in many biological systems including the regulation of energy homeostasis and fat metabolism. CTSZ has been detected in immune cells, such as macrophages and monocytes, and it is hypothesized that the protein may play a role in the immune response. In our South African population a case–control study confirmed the previously reported association with a single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in CTSZ and found an association in MC3R with a SNP not previously implicated in tuberculosis susceptibility. Six SNPs in MC3R and eight in CTSZ were genotyped and haplotypes were inferred. SNP rs6127698 in the promoter region of MC3R (cases=498; controls=506) and rs34069356 in the 3′UTR of CTSZ (cases=396; controls=298) both showed significant association with tuberculosis susceptibility (P=0.0004 and <0.0001, respectively), indicating that pathways involving these proteins, not previously researched in this disease, could yield novel therapies for tuberculosis.
melanocortin-3-receptor; cathepsin Z; tuberculosis; polymorphism; South African Coloured
This study demonstrates the excellent diagnostic accuracy of the Xpert MTB/RIF test in patients with tuberculous lymphadenitis. The test sensitivity and specificity were 96.7% (95% confidence interval [CI], 86.6 to 100%) and 88.9% (95% CI, 69.6 to 100%), respectively, and it correctly identified 6/6 (100%) of the cytology smear-negative/culture-positive cases and 1 of 2 (50%) rifampin-resistant cases.
A molecular assay to quantify Mycobacterium tuberculosis is described. In vitro, 98% (n = 96) of sputum samples with a known number of bacilli (107 to 102 bacilli) could be enumerated within 0.5 log10. In comparison to culture, the molecular bacterial load (MBL) assay is unaffected by other microorganisms present in the sample, results are obtained more quickly (within 24 h) and are seldom inhibited (0.7% samples), and the MBL assay critically shows the same biphasic decline as observed longitudinally during treatment. As a biomarker of treatment response, the MBL assay responds rapidly, with a mean decline in bacterial load for 111 subjects of 0.99 log10 (95% confidence interval [95% CI], 0.81 to 1.17) after 3 days of chemotherapy. There was a significant association between the rate of bacterial decline during the same 3 days and bacilli ml−1 sputum at day 0 (linear regression, P = 0.0003) and a 3.62 increased odds ratio of relapse for every 1 log10 increase in pretreatment bacterial load (95% CI, 1.53 to 8.59).
The relative contributions of transmission and reactivation of latent infection to TB cases observed clinically has been reported in many situations, but always with some uncertainty. Genotyped data from TB organisms obtained from patients have been used as the basis for heuristic distinctions between circulating (clustered strains) and reactivated infections (unclustered strains). Naïve methods previously applied to the analysis of such data are known to provide biased estimates of the proportion of unclustered cases. The hypergeometric distribution, which generates probabilities of observing clusters of a given size as realized clusters of all possible sizes, is analyzed in this paper to yield a formal estimator for genotype cluster sizes. Subtle aspects of numerical stability, bias, and variance are explored. This formal estimator is seen to be stable with respect to the epidemiologically interesting properties of the cluster size distribution (the number of clusters and the number of singletons) though it does not yield satisfactory estimates of the number of clusters of larger sizes. The problem that even complete coverage of genotyping, in a practical sampling frame, will only provide a partial view of the actual transmission network remains to be explored.
Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the causative agent of most human tuberculosis, infects one third of the world's population and kills an estimated 1.7 million people a year. With the world-wide emergence of drug resistance, and the finding of more functional genetic diversity than previously expected, there is a renewed interest in understanding the forces driving genome evolution of this important pathogen. Genetic diversity in M. tuberculosis is dominated by single nucleotide polymorphisms and small scale gene deletion, with little or no evidence for large scale genome rearrangements seen in other bacteria. Recently, a single report described a large scale genome duplication that was suggested to be specific to the Beijing lineage. We report here multiple independent large-scale duplications of the same genomic region of M. tuberculosis detected through whole-genome sequencing. The duplications occur in strains belonging to both M. tuberculosis lineage 2 and 4, and are thus not limited to Beijing strains. The duplications occur in both drug-resistant and drug susceptible strains. The duplicated regions also have substantially different boundaries in different strains, indicating different originating duplication events. We further identify a smaller segmental duplication of a different genomic region of a lab strain of H37Rv. The presence of multiple independent duplications of the same genomic region suggests either instability in this region, a selective advantage conferred by the duplication, or both. The identified duplications suggest that large-scale gene duplication may be more common in M. tuberculosis than previously considered.
The performance and cost of the Capilia TB assay were evaluated for use in a resource-limited setting. The sensitivity and specificity were 99.6% and 99.5%, respectively. The incremental costs of the Capilia test were estimated to be $1.46 and $1.84 when the test was added to liquid and solid culture processes, respectively. These findings suggest that the Capilia TB assay represents a rapid, simple, and inexpensive Mycobacterium tuberculosis identification test that can be used in resource-limited settings.
Rationale: Susceptibility to tuberculosis is not only determined by Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection, but also by the genetic component of the host. The pleiotropic cytokine tumor necrosis factor-α is essential to control tuberculosis infection, and various tumor necrosis factor family members and their respective receptors may contribute to tuberculosis risk.
Objectives: To investigate four functionally relevant polymorphisms in the tumor necrosis factor receptor 2–encoding gene, tumor necrosis factor receptor superfamily member 1B, for association with tuberculosis susceptibility.
Methods: Genotyping of four polymorphisms was performed in independent populations from South Africa (429 cases and 482 control subjects) and Ghana (640 cases and 1,158 control subjects), and the association of the variants with tuberculosis was tested using two case-control association studies.
Measurements and Main Results: Single-point and haplotype analysis in South Africans revealed an association in the 3′untranslated region of the investigated gene. The T allele of rs3397 alone and/or the 3′ untranslated region haplotype GTT may confer protection against tuberculosis insofar as both allele and haplotype frequencies were significantly lower in case subjects than in controls. The GTT genotype had previously been shown to increase the decay of tumor necrosis factor receptor 2 messenger ribonucleic acid, and messenger ribonucleic acid destabilization may represent a key molecular mechanism for disease susceptibility. Interestingly, the association signal appeared to be restricted to women. The genetic finding was validated in female participants from Ghana. The combined P value in the haplotype analysis was P = 0.00011.
Conclusions: Our finding emphasizes the importance of tumor necrosis factor/tumor necrosis factor receptor–mediated immune responses in the pathogenesis of tuberculosis.
Mycobacterium tuberculosis; genetic susceptibility; association study
Seven outbreaks involving increasing numbers of banded mongoose troops and high death rates have been documented. We identified a Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex pathogen, M. mungi sp. nov., as the causative agent among banded mongooses that live near humans in Chobe District, Botswana. Host spectrum and transmission dynamics remain unknown.
Tuberculosis; Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex; Mycobacterium mungi; banded mongoose; human–wildlife interface; wildlife; dassie bacillius; tuberculosis and other mycobacteria; dispatch
Interferon gamma is a major macrophage-activating cytokine during infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the causative pathogen of tuberculosis, and its role has been well established in animal models and in humans. This cytokine is produced by activated T helper 1 cells, which can best deal with intracellular pathogens such as M. tuberculosis. Based on the hypothesis that genes which regulate interferon gamma may influence tuberculosis susceptibility, we investigated polymorphisms in eight candidate genes.
Fifty-four polymorphisms in eight candidate genes were genotyped in over 800 tuberculosis cases and healthy controls in a population-based case-control association study in a South African population. Genotyping methods used included the SNPlex Genotyping System™, capillary electrophoresis of fluorescently labelled PCR products, TaqMan® SNP genotyping assays or the amplification mutation refraction system. Single polymorphisms as well as haplotypes of the variants were tested for association with TB using statistical analyses.
A haplotype in interleukin 12B was nominally associated with tuberculosis (p = 0.02), but after permutation testing, done to assess the significance for the entire analysis, this was not globally significant. In addition a novel allele was found for the interleukin 12B D5S2941 microsatellite.
This study highlights the importance of using larger sample sizes when attempting validation of previously reported genetic associations. Initial studies may be false positives or may propose a stronger genetic effect than subsequently found to be the case.
Approximately 20% of persons living in areas hyperendemic for tuberculosis (TB) display persistent lack of tuberculin skin test (TST) reactivity and appear to be naturally resistant to infection by Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Among those with a positive response, the intensity of TST reactivity varies greatly. The genetic basis of TST reactivity is not known. We report on a genome-wide linkage search for loci that have an impact on TST reactivity, which is defined either as zero versus nonzero (TST-BINa) or as extent of TST in millimeters (TST–quantitative trait locus [QTL]) in a panel of 128 families, including 350 siblings, from an area of South Africa hyperendemic for TB. We detected a major locus (TST1) on chromosomal region 11p14 (P = 1.4 × 10−5), which controls TST-BINa, with a lack of responsiveness indicating T cell–independent resistance to M. tuberculosis. We also detected a second major locus (TST2) on chromosomal region 5p15 (P < 10−5), which controls TST-QTL or the intensity of T cell–mediated delayed type hypersensitivity (DTH) to tuberculin. Fine mapping of this region identified SLC6A3, encoding the dopamine transporter DAT1, as a promising gene for further studies. Our results pave the way for the understanding of the molecular mechanisms involved in resistance to M. tuberculosis infection in endemic areas (TST1) and for the identification of critical regulators of T cell–dependent DTH to tuberculin (TST2).
The assimilation of nitrogen is an essential process in all prokaryotes, yet a relatively limited amount of information is available on nitrogen metabolism in the mycobacteria. The physiological role and pathogenic properties of glutamine synthetase (GS) have been extensively investigated in Mycobacterium tuberculosis. However, little is known about this enzyme in other mycobacterial species, or the role of an additional nitrogen assimilatory pathway via glutamate dehydrogenase (GDH), in the mycobacteria as a whole. We investigated specific enzyme activity and transcription of GS and as well as both possible isoforms of GDH (NAD+- and NADP+-specific GDH) under varying conditions of nitrogen availability in Mycobacterium smegmatis as a model for the mycobacteria.
It was found that the specific activity of the aminating NADP+-GDH reaction and the deaminating NAD+-GDH reaction did not change appreciably in response to nitrogen availability. However, GS activity as well as the deaminating NADP+-GDH and aminating NAD+-GDH reactions were indeed significantly altered in response to exogenous nitrogen concentrations. Transcription of genes encoding for GS and the GDH isoforms were also found to be regulated under our experimental conditions.
The physiological role and regulation of GS in M. smegmatis was similar to that which has been described for other mycobacteria, however, in our study the regulation of both NADP+- and NAD+-GDH specific activity in M. smegmatis appeared to be different to that of other Actinomycetales. It was found that NAD+-GDH played an important role in nitrogen assimilation rather than glutamate catabolism as was previously thought, and is it's activity appeared to be regulated in response to nitrogen availability. Transcription of the genes encoding for NAD+-GDH enzymes seem to be regulated in M. smegmatis under the conditions tested and may contribute to the changes in enzyme activity observed, however, our results indicate that an additional regulatory mechanism may be involved. NADP+-GDH seemed to be involved in nitrogen assimilation due to a constitutive aminating activity. The deaminating reaction, however was observed to change in response to varying ammonium concentrations which suggests that NADP+-GDH is also regulated in response to nitrogen availability. The regulation of NADP+-GDH activity was not reflected at the level of gene transcription thereby implicating post-transcriptional modification as a regulatory mechanism in response to nitrogen availability.
Although the genome of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis H37Rv laboratory strain has been available for over 10 years, it is only recently that genomic information from clinical isolates has been used to generate the hypothesis of virulence differences between different strains. In addition, the relationship between strains displaying differing virulence in an epidemiological setting and their behavior in animal models has received little attention. The potential causes for variation in virulence between strains, as determined by differential protein expression, have similarly been a neglected area of investigation. In this study, we used a label-free quantitative proteomics approach to estimate differences in protein abundance between two closely related Beijing genotypes that have been shown to be hyper- and hypovirulent on the basis of both epidemiological and mouse model studies. We were able to identify a total of 1668 proteins from both samples, and protein abundance calculations revealed that 48 proteins were over-represented in the hypovirulent isolate, whereas 53 were over-represented in the hypervirulent. Functional classification of these results shows that molecules of cell wall organization and DNA transcription regulatory proteins may have a critical influence in defining the level of virulence. The reduction in the presence of ESAT-6, other Esx-like proteins, and FbpD (MPT51) in the hypervirulent strain indicates that changes in the repertoire of highly immunogenic proteins can be a defensive process undertaken by the virulent cell. In addition, most of the previously well characterized gene targets related to virulence were found to be similarly expressed in our model. Our data support the use of proteomics as a complementary tool for genomic comparisons to understand the biology of M. tuberculosis virulence.
Improved infection control, rapid diagnostic tools, enhanced screening strategies, and pharmacokinetic studies are needed.
We investigated the emergence and evolution of drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB) in an HIV co-infected population at a South African gold mine with a well-functioning TB control program. Of 128 patients with drug-resistant TB diagnosed during January 2003–November 2005, a total of 77 had multidrug-resistant (MDR) TB, 26 had pre–extensively drug-resistant TB (XDR TB), and 5 had XDR TB. Genotyping suggested ongoing transmission of drug-resistant TB, and contact tracing among case-patients in the largest cluster demonstrated multiple possible points of contact. Phylogenetic analysis demonstrated stepwise evolution of drug resistance, despite stringent treatment adherence. These findings suggested that existing TB control measures were inadequate to control the spread of drug-resistant TB in this HIV co-infected population. Diagnosis delay and inappropriate therapy facilitated disease transmission and drug-resistance. These data call for improved infection control measures, implementation of rapid diagnostics, enhanced active screening strategies, and pharmacokinetic studies to determine optimal dosages and treatment regimens.
Mycobacterium tuberculosis; extensively drug-resistant TB; XDR TB; MDR TB; transmission; molecular epidemiology; DOTS; tuberculosis and other mycobacteria; South Africa; research
In a significant number of instances, an episode of tuberculosis can be attributed to a reinfection event. Because reinfection is more likely in high incidence regions than in regions of low incidence, more tuberculosis (TB) cases due to reinfection could be expected in high-incidence regions than in low-incidence regions. Empirical data from regions with various incidence rates appear to confirm the conjecture that, in fact, the incidence rate due to reinfection only, as a proportion of all cases, correlates with the logarithm of the incidence rate, rather than with the incidence rate itself. A theoretical model that supports this conjecture is presented. A Markov model was used to obtain a relationship between incidence and reinfection rates. It was assumed in this model that the rate of reinfection is a multiple, ρ (the reinfection factor), of the rate of first-time infection, λ. The results obtained show a relationship between the proportion of cases due to reinfection and the rate of incidence that is approximately logarithmic for a range of values of the incidence rate typical of those observed in communities across the globe. A value of ρ is determined such that the relationship between the proportion of cases due to reinfection and the logarithm of the incidence rate closely correlates with empirical data. From a purely theoretical investigation, it is shown that a simple relationship can be expected between the logarithm of the incidence rates and the proportions of cases due to reinfection after a prior episode of TB. This relationship is sustained by a rate of reinfection that is higher than the rate of first-time infection and this latter consideration underscores the great importance of monitoring recovered TB cases for repeat disease episodes, especially in regions where TB incidence is high. Awareness of this may assist in attempts to control the epidemic.
Mycobacterium tuberculosis; reinfection; incidence; Markov model; transmission; susceptibility
The long-term persistence of Mycobacterium tuberculosis in communities with high tuberculosis prevalence is a serious problem aggravated by the presence of drug-resistant tuberculosis strains. Drug resistance in an individual patient is often discovered only after a long delay, particularly if the diagnosis is based on current culture-based drug sensitivity testing methods. During such delays, the patient may transmit tuberculosis to his or her contacts. Rapid diagnosis of drug resistance would be expected to reduce this transmission and hence to decrease the prevalence of drug-resistant strains. To investigate this quantitatively, a mathematical model was constructed, assuming a homogeneous population structure typical of communities in South Africa where tuberculosis incidence is high. Computer simulations performed with this model showed that current control strategies will not halt the spread of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis in such communities. The simulations showed that the rapid diagnosis of drug resistance can be expected to reduce the incidence of drug-resistant cases provided the additional measure of screening within the community is implemented.
PPE38 (Rv2352c) is a member of the large PPE gene family of Mycobacterium tuberculosis and related mycobacteria. The function of PPE proteins is unknown but evidence suggests that many are cell-surface associated and recognised by the host immune system. Previous studies targeting other PPE gene members suggest that some display high levels of polymorphism and it is thought that this might represent a means of providing antigenic variation. We have analysed the genetic variability of the PPE38 genomic region on a cohort of M. tuberculosis clinical isolates representing all of the major phylogenetic lineages, along with the ancestral M. tuberculosis complex (MTBC) member M. canettii, and supplemented this with analysis of publicly available whole genome sequences representing additional M. tuberculosis clinical isolates, other MTBC members and non tuberculous mycobacteria (NTM). Where possible we have extended this analysis to include the adjacent plcABC and PPE39/40 genomic regions.
We show that the ancestral MTBC PPE38 region comprises 2 homologous PPE genes (PPE38 and PPE71), separated by 2 esat-6 (esx)-like genes and that this structure derives from an esx/esx/PPE duplication in the common ancestor of M. tuberculosis and M. marinum. We also demonstrate that this region of the genome is hypervariable due to frequent IS6110 integration, IS6110-associated recombination, and homologous recombination and gene conversion events between PPE38 and PPE71. These mutations result in combinations of gene deletion, gene truncation and gene disruption in the majority of clinical isolates. These mutations were generally found to be IS6110 strain lineage-specific, although examples of additional within-lineage and even within-cluster mutations were observed. Furthermore, we provide evidence that the published M. tuberculosis H37Rv whole genome sequence is inaccurate regarding this region.
Our results show that this antigen-encoding region of the M. tuberculosis genome is hypervariable. The observation that numerous different mutations have become fixed within specific lineages demonstrates that this genomic region is undergoing rapid molecular evolution and that further lineage-specific evolutionary expansion and diversification has occurred subsequent to the lineage-defining mutational events. We predict that functional loss of these genes could aid immune evasion. Finally, we also show that the PPE38 region of the published M. tuberculosis H37Rv whole genome sequence is not representative of the ATCC H37Rv reference strain.
Interferon gamma release assays, including the QuantiFERON® TB Gold In Tube (QFT) have been shown to be accurate in diagnosing Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection. These assays however, do not discriminate between latent TB infection (LTBI) and active TB disease.
We recruited twenty-three pulmonary TB patients and 34 household contacts from Cape Town, South Africa and performed the QFT test. To investigate the ability of new host markers to differentiate between LTBI and active TB, levels of 29 biomarkers in QFT supernatants were evaluated using a Luminex multiplex cytokine assay.
Eight out of 29 biomarkers distinguished active TB from LTBI in a pilot study. Baseline levels of epidermal growth factor (EGF) soluble CD40 ligand (sCD40L), antigen stimulated levels of EGF, and the background corrected antigen stimulated levels of EGF and macrophage inflammatory protein (MIP)-1β were the most informative single markers for differentiation between TB disease and LTBI, with AUCs of 0.88, 0.84, 0.87, 0.90 and 0.79 respectively. The combination of EGF and MIP-1β predicted 96% of active TB cases and 92% of LTBIs. Combinations between EGF, sCD40L, VEGF, TGF-α and IL-1α also showed potential to differentiate between TB infection states. EGF, VEGF, TGF-α and sCD40L levels were higher in TB patients.
These preliminary data suggest that active TB may be accurately differentiated from LTBI utilizing adaptations of the commercial QFT test that includes measurement of EGF, sCD40L, MIP-1β, VEGF, TGF-α or IL-1α in supernatants from QFT assays. This approach holds promise for development as a rapid diagnostic test for active TB.
Although the gene encoding for glutamine synthetase (glnA) is essential in several organisms, multiple glnA copies have been identified in bacterial genomes such as those of the phylum Actinobacteria, notably the mycobacterial species. Intriguingly, previous reports have shown that only one copy (glnA1) is essential for growth in M. tuberculosis, while the other copies (glnA2, glnA3 and glnA4) are not.
In this report it is shown that the glnA1 and glnA2 encoded glutamine synthetase sequences were inherited from an Actinobacteria ancestor, while the glnA4 and glnA3 encoded GS sequences were sequentially acquired during Actinobacteria speciation. The glutamine synthetase sequences encoded by glnA4 and glnA3 are undergoing reductive evolution in the mycobacteria, whilst those encoded by glnA1 and glnA2 are more conserved.
Different selective pressures by the ecological niche that the organisms occupy may influence the sequence evolution of glnA1 and glnA2 and thereby affecting phylogenies based on the protein sequences they encode. The findings in this report may impact the use of similar sequences as molecular markers, as well as shed some light on the evolution of glutamine synthetase in the mycobacteria.
This study investigated interleukin-4 (IL-4), IL-4δ2, transforming growth factor beta (TGF-β), TGF-βRII, Foxp3, GATA-3, T-bet, and gamma interferon (IFN-γ) transcription in peripheral blood samples of adult pulmonary tuberculosis patients prior to and after 1 week of therapy. Twenty patients with positive results for sputum culture for Mycobacterium tuberculosis were enrolled and treated with directly observed short-course antituberculosis chemotherapy. Early treatment response was assessed. At the end of the intensive phase of treatment (month 2), 12 patients remained sputum culture positive (slow responders) and 8 converted to a negative culture (fast responders). Only the expression levels of IL-4 (4-fold decrease) and IL-4δ2 (32-fold increase) changed significantly during the first week of therapy in the 20 patients. No baseline differences were present between the responder groups, but fast responders had significantly higher IL-4 transcripts than slow responders at week 1. Fast responders showed a 19-fold upregulation and slow responders a 47-fold upregulation of IL-4δ2 at week 1. Only slow responders also showed a significant decrease in IL-4 expression at week 1. There were no significant differences in expression of TGF-β, TGF-βRII, Foxp3, IFN-γ, and GATA-3 between the groups. These data show that differential IL-4-related gene expression in the early stage of antituberculosis treatment accompanies differential treatment responses and may hold promise as a marker for treatment effect.
Although granulomas may be an essential host response against persistent antigens, they are also associated with immunopathology. We investigated whether HIV co-infection affects histopathological appearance and cytokine profiles of pleural granulomas in patients with active pleural tuberculosis (TB). Granulomas were investigated in pleural biopsies from HIV positive and negative TB pleuritis patients. Granulomas were characterised as necrotic or non-necrotic, graded histologically and investigated for the mRNA expression of IL-12, IFN-γ, TNF-α and IL-4 by in situ hybridisation. In all TB patients a mixed Th1/Th2 profile was noted. Necrotic granulomas were more evident in HIV positive patients with a clear association between TNF-α and necrosis. This study demonstrates immune dysregulation which may include TNF-α-mediated immunopathology at the site of disease in HIV infected pleural TB patients.
Rationale: Tuberculosis remains a major cause of morbidity and mortality in the developing world. A better understanding of the mechanisms of disease protection could allow novel strategies to disease management and control.
Objectives: To identify human genomic loci with evidence of linkage to tuberculosis susceptibility and, within these loci, to identify individual genes influencing tuberculosis susceptibility.
Methods: Affected sibling pair analysis in South African and Malawian populations. Independent case-control study in West Africa.
Measurements and Main Results: Two novel putative loci for tuberculosis susceptibility are identified: chromosome 6p21-q23 and chromosome 20q13.31—33—the latter with the strongest evidence for any locus reported to date in human tuberculosis (single point LOD score of 3.1, P = 10−4, with a maximum likelihood score [MLS] of 2.8). An independent, multistage genetic association study in West African populations mapped this latter region in detail, finding evidence that variation in the melanocortin 3 receptor (MC3R) and cathepsin Z (CTSZ) genes play a role in the pathogenesis of tuberculosis.
Conclusions: These results demonstrate how a genomewide approach to the complex phenotype of human tuberculosis can identify novel targets for further research.
tuberculosis; host genetics; MC3R; Africa