Predictive value of TNF-α, IFN-γ, and IL-10 for tuberculosis among recently exposed contacts in the United States and Canada

Reichler, Mary R.; Hirsch, Christina; Yuan, Yan; Khan, Awal; Dorman, Susan E.; Schluger, Neil; Sterling, Timothy R.

We examined cytokine immune response profiles among contacts to tuberculosis patients to identify immunologic and epidemiologic correlates of tuberculosis.

We prospectively enrolled 1272 contacts of culture-confirmed pulmonary tuberculosis patients at 9 United States and Canadian sites. Epidemiologic characteristics were recorded. Blood was collected and stimulated with Mycobacterium tuberculosis culture filtrate protein, and tumor necrosis factor (TNF-α), interferon gamma (IFN-γ), and interleukin 10 (IL-10) concentrations were determined using immunoassays.

Of 1272 contacts, 41 (3.2%) were diagnosed with tuberculosis before or < 30 days after blood collection (co-prevalent tuberculosis) and 19 (1.5%) during subsequent four-year follow-up (incident tuberculosis). Compared with contacts without tuberculosis, those with co-prevalent tuberculosis had higher median baseline TNF-α and IFN-γ concentrations (in pg/mL, TNF-α 129 versus 71, P < .01; IFN-γ 231 versus 27, P < .001), and those who subsequently developed incident tuberculosis had higher median baseline TNF-α concentrations (in pg/mL, 257 vs. 71, P < .05). In multivariate analysis, contact age < 15 years, US/Canadian birth, and IFN or TNF concentrations > the median were associated with co-prevalent tuberculosis (P < .01 for each); female sex (P = .03) and smoking (P < .01) were associated with incident tuberculosis. In algorithms combining young age, positive skin test results, and elevated CFPS TNF-α, IFN-γ, and IL-10 responses, the positive predictive values for co-prevalent and incident tuberculosis were 40 and 25%, respectively.

Cytokine concentrations and epidemiologic factors at the time of contact investigation may predict co-prevalent and incident tuberculosis.

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BMC Infectious Diseases

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Published Here
September 22, 2023


Tuberculosis, Contacts, Cytokines, Immune correlates, Epidemiology, Tumor necrosis factor, Interferon gamma, Interleukin 10