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Journal of Immunology Research
Volume 2015, Article ID 217287, 10 pages
Research Article

Multifunctional Analysis of CD4+ T-Cell Response as Immune-Based Model for Tuberculosis Detection

1Department of Public Health and Infectious Diseases, Istituto Pasteur-Fondazione Cenci Bolognetti, Sapienza University, Piazzale Aldo Moro 5, 00185 Rome, Italy
2Infectious Diseases Unit, Sapienza University, Corso della Repubblica 79, 04100 Latina, Italy

Received 17 September 2014; Revised 30 December 2014; Accepted 30 December 2014

Academic Editor: Vishwanath Venketaraman

Copyright © 2015 Miriam Lichtner et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Mono- and multifunctional specific CD4+ and CD8+ T-cell responses were evaluated to improve the immune-based detection of active tuberculosis (TB) and latent infection (LTBI). We applied flow cytometry to investigate cytokines profile (IFN-γ, TNF-α, and IL-2) of T cells after stimulation with TB antigens in 28 TB-infected subjects (18 active TB and 10 LTBI) and 10 uninfected controls. Cytokines production by CD4+ T cells at single-cell levels was higher in TB-infected subjects than uninfected controls . Assigning to activated CD4+ T cells, producing any of the three cytokines, a cut-off >0.45%, it was possible to differentiate TB-infected (>0.45%) by uninfected subjects (<0.45%). Among TB-infected subjects, the frequencies of multifunctional CD4+ T cells, simultaneously producing all 3 cytokines, are lower in active TB than LTBI subjects . Thus, assigning to triple-positive CD4+ T cells a cut-off <0.182%, TB-infected individuals could be classified as active TB subjects (<0.182%) or LTBI subjects (>0.182%). The magnitude of CD8+ T-cell responses showed no differences between active TB and LTBI. Multifunctional CD4+ T-cell responses could have the potential to identify at single time point subjects without TB infection and patients having active or latent TB.