The humoral response to different proteinaceous antigens of Mycobacterium tuberculosis is heterogeneous among patients with active disease, and this has originated in the proposal to use a combination of several specific antigens to find an efficient serodiagnostic test for tuberculosis (TB). However, to date, comparisons of antibody responses to several antigens in the same population have been carried out without consideration of antigenic cell wall glycolipids. In the present study the presence of immunoglobulin G (IgG), IgM, and IgA antibodies to M. tuberculosis glycolipids (sulfolipid I, diacyltrehaloses, triacyltrehaloses, and cord factor) was compared with the response to four commercially available tests based on the 38-kDa protein mixed with the 16-kDa protein or lipoarabinomannan. Fifty-two serum samples from TB patients and 83 serum samples from control individuals (48 healthy individuals and 35 non-TB pneumonia patients) were studied. Three relevant results were obtained. (i) Smear-negative TB patients presented low humoral responses, but the sera which did react principally showed IgA antibodies to some glycolipidic antigens. (ii) TB patients exhibit heterogeneous humoral responses against glycolipidic antigens. (iii) Finally, test sensitivity is improved (from 23 to 62%) when IgG and IgA antibodies are detected together in tests based on different antigens (proteins and glycolipids). We conclude that it is possible to include glycolipidic antigens in a cocktail of specific antigens from M. tuberculosis to develop a serodiagnostic test.
|Journal||Clinical and Diagnostic Laboratory Immunology|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Jan 2004|