Multiple cytokine responses in discriminating between active tuberculosis and latent tuberculosis infection

Jing Wu, Sen Wang, Chanyi Lu, Lingyun Shao, Yan Gao, Zumo Zhou, Heqing Huang, Ying Zhang, Wenhong Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Background Cytokines play an important role in cell-mediated immune responses against Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) infection. Cytokine profile specifically associated with active tuberculosis (ATB) patients, subjects with latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) and non-infected individuals remains to be determined. Methods We enrolled a total of 92 subjects including patients with ATB (n = 25), LTBI (n = 36) and healthy controls (HC, n = 31) to investigate the cytokine production by peripheral blood mononuclear cells after Mtb purified protein derivative (PPD) stimulation which was evaluated by a beads-based multiplex assay system. Results The production of IL-1β, IL-2, IL-6, IL-10, IL-17, G-CSF, IFN-γ, IP-10, MIP-1α and TNF-α was abundantly induced by PPD in all three groups. The levels of IL-2, IL-10, IFN-γ, IP-10 and TNF-α were significantly higher in LTBI group than in ATB group. The combination of PPD-stimulated IL-2 and IL-10 accurately identified 84.0% of ATB and 88.9% of LTBI. We validated the use of PPD-stimulated IL-2 and IL-10 test combined with T-SPOT.TB test in a cohort of 44 subjects with TB suspicion. The sensitivity and specificity of the combined test were 83.3% and 92.3%, respectively. The PPD-stimulated IL-2/IFN-γ ratio (p < 0.001) in LTBI subjects was significantly higher than in active TB patients. Conclusion Our study identified cytokine patterns characteristic of ATB and LTBI. Cytokines such as IL-2 and IL-10 may serve as biomarkers for distinguishing ATB from LTBI and healthy control and may contribute to intervention and improvement in TB diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)68-75
Number of pages8
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017


  • Cytokines
  • Immunodiagnosis
  • Latent infection
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis
  • Purified protein derivative

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


Dive into the research topics of 'Multiple cytokine responses in discriminating between active tuberculosis and latent tuberculosis infection'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this