Potential etiologic agents in sarcoidosis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


The etiology of sarcoidosis remains uncertain. The hallmark of sarcoidosis is the epithelioid granuloma, which serves as a necessary starting point for considering disease etiology. Any etiologic agent of sarcoidosis must also explain the typical clinical behaviors and characteristic immunopathologic features of the disease. One clinical observation that serves as a bridge to the etiology of sarcoidosis is the Kveim reaction. In this reaction, local epithelioid granulomas develop several weeks after the intradermal injection of homogenates of sarcoidosis tissue. Our group capitalized on the known properties of the Kveim reagent to search for candidate pathogenic tissue antigens in sarcoidosis without other a priori hypotheses regarding possible microbial or autoimmune etiologies. Using a limited proteomics approach based on the physicochemical properties of Kveim reagent, we detected a limited number of poorly soluble antigenic proteins in sarcoidosis tissues by protein immunoblotting, using sarcoidosis sera. Matrix-associated laser desorption/ionization-time of flight mass spectrometry identified one of these antigens to be the Mycobacterium tuberculosis catalase-peroxidase protein (mKatG). We found IgG responses to recombinant mKatG in more than 50% of patients with sarcoidosis but rarely in purified protein derivative (PPD)-negative control subjects. These findings support the conclusion that mKatG is a tissue antigen and target of the adaptive immune response in sarcoidosis, providing further evidence of amycobacterial etiology in a subset of sarcoidosis. More generally, the approach used in these studies might be employed to discover and validate other candidate pathogenic antigens in sarcoidosis or other granulomatous disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)465-468
Number of pages4
JournalProceedings of the American Thoracic Society
Issue number5
StatePublished - Aug 2007


  • Etiology
  • Granuloma
  • Mycobacteria
  • Proteomics
  • Sarcoidosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Potential etiologic agents in sarcoidosis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this