Journal Article

Dissociation Between Tuberculin Skin Test and <i>In Vitro</i> IFN-γ Responses Following Neonatal BCG Vaccination

Martin O. C. Ota, Tessa Goetghebuer, Johan Vekemans, Brown J. Okoko, Melanie J. Newport, Keith P. W. J. McAdam and Arnaud Marchant

in Journal of Tropical Pediatrics

Volume 52, issue 2, pages 136-140
Published in print April 2006 | ISSN: 0142-6338
Published online August 2005 | e-ISSN: 1465-3664 | DOI:
Dissociation Between Tuberculin Skin Test and In Vitro IFN-γ Responses Following Neonatal BCG Vaccination

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The in vitro IFN-γ response to tuberculin was recently proposed as a correlate of vaccine-induced immunity to tuberculosis. IFN-γ also plays a central role in the tuberculin skin test (TST), commonly used as a marker of mycobacterial infection. However, the use of TST as a marker of immunity to tuberculosis is limited for reasons ascribed mainly to interference by environmental mycobacteria. We prospectively investigated the relationship between the TST and cytokine responses to BCG in early infancy, a cohort with relatively low exposure to environmental mycobacteria. Neonatal BCG vaccination induced positive TST responses and predominant IFN-γ responses to tuberculin in most newborns. However, the production of IFN-γ, IL-5 and IL-13 was similar in TST responders and non-responders, and there was no significant correlation between the size of TST response and cytokine production. These results indicate that the IFN-γ assay provides different information than TST in BCG-vaccinated newborns and could be a better marker of vaccine-induced immunity.

Journal Article.  2913 words. 

Subjects: Paediatrics

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