Default from multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) treatment remains a major barrier to cure and epidemic control. We sought to identify patient risk factors for default from MDR-TB treatment and high-risk time periods for default in relation to hospitalization and transition to outpatient care.
We retrospectively analyzed a cohort of 225 patients who initiated MDR-TB treatment between 2007 through 2010 at a rural TB hospital in the Western Cape Province, South Africa.
Fifty percent of patients were cured or completed treatment, 27% defaulted, 14% died, 4% failed treatment, and 5% transferred out. Recent alcohol use was common (63% of patients). In multivariable proportional hazards regression, older age (hazard ratio [HR]= 0.97 [95% confidence interval 0.94-0.99] per year of greater age), formal housing (HR=0.38 [0.19-0.78]), and steady employment (HR=0.41 [0.19-0.90]) were associated with decreased risk of default, while recent alcohol use (HR=2.1 [1.1-4.0]), recent drug use (HR=2.0 [1.0-3.6]), and Coloured (mixed ancestry) ethnicity (HR=2.3 [1.1-5.0]) were associated with increased risk of default (P<0.05). Defaults occurred throughout the first 18 months of the two-year treatment course but were especially frequent among alcohol users after discharge from the initial four-to-five-month in-hospital phase of treatment, with the highest default rates occurring among alcohol users within two months of discharge. Default rates during the first two months after discharge were also elevated for patients who received care from mobile clinics.
Among patients who were not cured or did not complete MDR-TB treatment, the majority defaulted from treatment. Younger, economically-unstable patients and alcohol and drug users were particularly at risk. For alcohol users as well as mobile-clinic patients, the early outpatient treatment phase is a high-risk period for default that could be targeted in efforts to increase treatment completion rates.
The organism that causes tuberculosis in meerkats (Suricata suricatta) has been poorly characterized. Our genetic analysis showed it to be a novel member of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex and closely related to the dassie bacillus. We have named this epidemiologically and genetically unique strain M. suricattae.
meerkat; Mycobacterium suricattae; suricate; tuberculosis; South Africa; tuberculosis and other mycobacteria
Recurrence of tuberculosis after treatment makes management difficult and is a key factor for determining treatment efficacy. Two processes can cause recurrence: relapse of the primary infection or re-infection with an exogenous strain. Although re-infection can and does occur, its importance to tuberculosis epidemiology and its biological basis is still debated. We used whole-genome sequencing—which is more accurate than conventional typing used to date—to assess the frequency of recurrence and to gain insight into the biological basis of re-infection.
We assessed patients from the REMoxTB trial—a randomised controlled trial of tuberculosis treatment that enrolled previously untreated participants with Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection from Malaysia, South Africa, and Thailand. We did whole-genome sequencing and mycobacterial interspersed repetitive unit-variable number of tandem repeat (MIRU-VNTR) typing of pairs of isolates taken by sputum sampling: one from before treatment and another from either the end of failed treatment at 17 weeks or later or from a recurrent infection. We compared the number and location of SNPs between isolates collected at baseline and recurrence.
We assessed 47 pairs of isolates. Whole-genome sequencing identified 33 cases with little genetic distance (0–6 SNPs) between strains, deemed relapses, and three cases for which the genetic distance ranged from 1306 to 1419 SNPs, deemed re-infections. Six cases of relapse and six cases of mixed infection were classified differently by whole-genome sequencing and MIRU-VNTR. We detected five single positive isolates (positive culture followed by at least two negative cultures) without clinical evidence of disease.
Whole-genome sequencing enables the differentiation of relapse and re-infection cases with greater resolution than do genotyping methods used at present, such as MIRU-VNTR, and provides insights into the biology of recurrence. The additional clarity provided by whole-genome sequencing might have a role in defining endpoints for clinical trials.
Wellcome Trust, European Union, Medical Research Council, Global Alliance for TB Drug Development, European and Developing Country Clinical Trials Partnership.
Summary: Numerous studies have reported that individuals can simultaneously harbor multiple distinct strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. To date, there has been limited discussion of the consequences for the individual or the epidemiological importance of mixed infections. Here, we review studies that documented mixed infections, highlight challenges associated with the detection of mixed infections, and discuss possible implications of mixed infections for the diagnosis and treatment of patients and for the community impact of tuberculosis control strategies. We conclude by highlighting questions that should be resolved in order to improve our understanding of the importance of mixed-strain M. tuberculosis infections.
The contraceptive depot medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA), with progestin as the single active compound, possesses selective glucocorticoid activity and can alter the expression of glucocorticoid receptor-regulated genes. We therefore propose that pharmacological doses of DMPA used for endocrine therapy could have significant immune modulatory effects and impact on susceptibility to, as well as clinical manifestation and outcome of, infectious diseases. We investigated the effect of contraceptive doses of DMPA in two different murine Mycobacterium tuberculosis models. Multiplex bead array analysis revealed that DMPA altered serum cytokine levels of tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α), granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF), and interleukin 10 (IL-10) in C57BL/6 mice and gamma interferon (IFN-γ) in BALB/c mice. DMPA also suppressed antigen-specific production of TNF-α, G-CSF, IL-10, and IL-6 and induced the production of IP-10 in C57BL/6 mice. In BALB/c mice, DMPA altered the antigen-specific secretion of IFN-γ, IL-17, granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF), IL-6, and monocyte chemotactic protein 1 (MCP-1). Furthermore, we show that C57BL/6 mice treated with doses of DMPA, which result in serum concentrations similar to those observed in contraceptive users, have a significantly higher bacterial load in their lungs. Our data show for the first time that DMPA impacts tuberculosis (TB) disease severity in a mouse model and that the effects of this contraceptive are not confined to infections of the genital tract. This could have major implications for the contraceptive policies not only in developing countries like South Africa but also worldwide.
Admixed populations can make an important contribution to the discovery of disease susceptibility genes if the parental populations exhibit substantial variation in susceptibility. Admixture mapping has been used successfully, but is not designed to cope with populations that have more than two or three ancestral populations. The inference of admixture proportions and local ancestry and the imputation of missing genotypes in admixed populations are crucial in both understanding variation in disease and identifying novel disease loci. These inferences make use of reference populations, and accuracy depends on the choice of ancestral populations. Using an insufficient or inaccurate ancestral panel can result in erroneously inferred ancestry and affect the detection power of GWAS and meta-analysis when using imputation. Current algorithms are inadequate for multi-way admixed populations. To address these challenges we developed PROXYANC, an approach to select the best proxy ancestral populations. From the simulation of a multi-way admixed population we demonstrate the capability and accuracy of PROXYANC and illustrate the importance of the choice of ancestry in both estimating admixture proportions and imputing missing genotypes. We applied this approach to a complex, uniquely admixed South African population. Using genome-wide SNP data from over 764 individuals, we accurately estimate the genetic contributions from the best ancestral populations: isiXhosa , ‡Khomani SAN , European , Indian , and Chinese . We also demonstrate that the ancestral allele frequency differences correlate with increased linkage disequilibrium in the South African population, which originates from admixture events rather than population bottlenecks.
The collective term for people of mixed ancestry in southern Africa is “Coloured,” and this is officially recognized in South Africa as a census term, and for self-classification. Whilst we acknowledge that some cultures may use this term in a derogatory manner, these connotations are not present in South Africa, and are certainly not intended here.
The Beijing genotype is a lineage of Mycobacterium tuberculosis that is distributed worldwide and responsible for large epidemics, associated with multidrug-resistance. However, its distribution in Africa is less understood due to the lack of data. Our aim was to investigate the prevalence and possible transmission of Beijing strains in Mozambique by a multivariate analysis of genotypic, geographic and demographic data. A total of 543 M. tuberculosis isolates from Mozambique were spoligotyped. Of these, 33 were of the Beijing lineage. The genetic relationship between the Beijing isolates were studied by identification of genomic deletions within some Regions of Difference (RD), Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism (RFLP) and Mycobacterial Interspersed Repetivie Unit – variable number tandem repeat (MIRU-VNTR). Beijing strains from South Africa, representing different sublineages were included as reference strains. The association between Beijing genotype, Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) serology and baseline demographic data was investigated. HIV positive serostatus was significantly (p=0.023) more common in patients with Beijing strains than in patients with non-Beijing strains in a multivariable analysis adjusted for age, sex and province (14 (10.9%) of the 129 HIV positive patients had Beijing strains while 6/141 (4.3%) of HIV negative patients had Beijing strains). The majority of Beijing strains were found in the Southern region of Mozambique, particularly in Maputo City (17%). Only one Beijing strain was drug resistant (multi-drug resistant). By combined use of RD and spoligotyping, three genetic sublineages could be tentatively identified where a distinct group of four isolates had deletion of RD150, a signature of the “sublineage 7” recently emerging in South Africa. The same group was very similar to South African “sublineage 7” by RFLP and MIRU-VNTR, suggesting that this sublineage could have been recently introduced in Mozambique from South Africa, in association with HIV infection.
Central dogma suggests that rifampicin resistance in Mycobacterium tuberculosis develops solely through rpoB gene mutations.
To determine whether rifampicin induces efflux pumps activation in rifampicin resistant M. tuberculosis strains thereby defining rifampicin resistance levels and reducing ofloxacin susceptibility.
Rifampicin and/or ofloxacin minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) were determined in rifampicin resistant strains by culture in BACTEC 12B medium. Verapamil and reserpine were included to determine their effect on rifampicin and ofloxacin susceptibility. RT-qPCR was applied to assess expression of efflux pump/transporter genes after rifampicin exposure. To determine whether verapamil could restore susceptibility to first-line drugs, BALB/c mice were infected with a MDR-TB strain and treated with first-line drugs with/without verapamil.
Measurements and Main Findings
Rifampicin MICs varied independently of rpoB mutation and genetic background. Addition reserpine and verapamil significantly restored rifampicin susceptibility (p = 0.0000). RT-qPCR demonstrated that rifampicin induced differential expression of efflux/transporter genes in MDR-TB isolates. Incubation of rifampicin mono-resistant strains in rifampicin (2 μg/ml) for 7 days induced ofloxacin resistance (MIC> 2 μg/ml) in strains with an rpoB531 mutation. Ofloxacin susceptibility was restored by exposure to efflux pump inhibitors. Studies in BALB/c mice showed that verapamil in combination with first-line drugs significantly reduced pulmonary CFUs after 1 and 2 months treatment (p < 0.05).
Exposure of rifampicin resistant M. tuberculosis strains to rifampicin can potentially compromise the efficacy of the second-line treatment regimens containing ofloxacin, thereby emphasising the need for rapid diagnostics to guide treatment. Efflux pump inhibitors have the potential to improve the efficacy of anti-tuberculosis drug treatment.
Mycobacterium tuberculosis; drug resistance; rifampicin; efflux pumps; cross resistance
Bovine tuberculosis (BTB) is a chronic, highly infectious disease that affects humans, cattle and numerous species of wildlife. In developing countries such as South Africa, the existence of extensive wildlife-human-livestock interfaces poses a significant risk of Mycobacterium bovis transmission between these groups, and has far-reaching ecological, economic and public health impacts. The African buffalo (Syncerus caffer), acts as a maintenance host for Mycobacterium bovis, and maintains and transmits the disease within the buffalo and to other species. In this study we aimed to investigate genetic susceptibility of buffalo for Mycobacterium bovis infection. Samples from 868 African buffalo of the Cape buffalo subspecies were used in this study. SNPs (n = 69), with predicted functional consequences in genes related to the immune system, were genotyped in this buffalo population by competitive allele-specific SNP genotyping. Case-control association testing and statistical analyses identified three SNPs associated with BTB status in buffalo. These SNPs, SNP41, SNP137 and SNP144, are located in the SLC7A13, DMBT1 and IL1α genes, respectively. SNP137 remained significantly associated after permutation testing. The three genetic polymorphisms identified are located in promising candidate genes for further exploration into genetic susceptibility to BTB in buffalo and other bovids, such as the domestic cow. These polymorphisms/genes may also hold potential for marker-assisted breeding programmes, with the aim of breeding more BTB-resistant animals and herds within both the national parks and the private sector.
In South Africa the estimated incidence of all forms of tuberculosis (TB) for 2008 was 960/100000. It was reported that all South Africans lived in districts with Directly Observed Therapy, Short-course. However, the 2011 WHO report indicated South Africa as the only country in the world where the TB incidence is still rising.
To report the results of a TB prevalence survey and to determine the speed of TB case detection in the study communities.
In 2005 a TB prevalence survey was done to inform the sample size calculation for the ZAMSTAR (Zambia South Africa TB and AIDS Reduction) trial. It was a cluster survey with clustering by enumeration area; all households were visited within enumeration areas and informed consent obtained from eligible adults. A questionnaire was completed and a sputum sample collected from each adult. Samples were inoculated on both liquid mycobacterium growth indicator tube (MGIT) and Löwenstein-Jensen media. A follow-up HIV prevalence survey was done in 2007.
In Community A, the adjusted prevalence of culture positive TB was 32/1000 (95%CI 25–41/1000) and of smear positive TB 8/1000 (95%CI 5–13/1000). In Community B, the adjusted prevalence of culture positive TB was 24/1000 (95%CI 17–32/1000) and of smear positive TB 9/1000 (95%CI 6–15/1000). In Community A the patient diagnostic rate was 0.38/person-year while in community B it was 0.30/person-year. In both communities the adjusted HIV prevalence was 25% (19–30%).
In both communities a higher TB prevalence than national estimates and a low patient diagnostic rate was calculated, suggesting that cases are not detected at a sufficient rate to interrupt transmission. These findings may contribute to the rising TB incidence in South Africa. The TB epidemic should therefore be addressed rapidly and effectively, especially in the presence of the concurrently high HIV prevalence.
Factors driving the increase in drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB) in the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa, are not understood. A convenience sample of 309 drug-susceptible and 342 multidrug-resistant (MDR) TB isolates, collected July 2008–July 2009, were characterized by spoligotyping, DNA fingerprinting, insertion site mapping, and targeted DNA sequencing. Analysis of molecular-based data showed diverse genetic backgrounds among drug-sensitive and MDR TB sensu stricto isolates in contrast to restricted genetic backgrounds among pre–extensively drug-resistant (pre-XDR) TB and XDR TB isolates. Second-line drug resistance was significantly associated with the atypical Beijing genotype. DNA fingerprinting and sequencing demonstrated that the pre-XDR and XDR atypical Beijing isolates evolved from a common progenitor; 85% and 92%, respectively, were clustered, indicating transmission. Ninety-three percent of atypical XDR Beijing isolates had mutations that confer resistance to 10 anti-TB drugs, and some isolates also were resistant to para-aminosalicylic acid. These findings suggest the emergence of totally drug-resistant TB.
Tuberculosis; TB; MDR TB; XDR-TB; extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis; totally drug resistant TB; South Africa; mycobacteria; Mycobacterium tuberculosis; bacteria
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.