Identification of Mycobacterium tuberculosis Infection in Infants and Children With Partial Discrimination Between Active Disease and Asymptomatic Infection

Alexandra Dreesman, Violette Dirix, Kaat Smits, Véronique Corbière, Anne Van Praet, Sara Debulpaep, Iris De Schutter, Mariet-Karlijn Felderhof, Anne Malfroot, Mahavir Singh, Camille Locht, Françoise Mouchet, Françoise Mascart

Onderzoeksoutput: Articlepeer review

3 Citaten (Scopus)


Background: Improved diagnostic tests are needed for the early identification of Mycobacterium tuberculosis-infected young children exposed to an active TB (aTB) index case. We aimed to compare the diagnostic accuracy of new blood-based tests to that of the tuberculin skin test (TST) for the identification of all infected children and for a potential differentiation between aTB and latent TB infection (LTBI). Methods: 144 children exposed to a patient with aTB were included, and those who met all inclusion criteria (130/144) were classified in three groups based on results from classical investigations: non-infected (NI: n = 69, 53%, median age 10 months), LTBI (n = 28, 22%, median age 96 months), aTB disease (n = 33, 25%, median age 24 months). The first whole blood assay consisted of a 7-days in vitro stimulation of blood with four different mycobacterial antigens (40 μl/condition), followed by flow cytometric measurement of the proportions of blast cells appearing among lymphocytes as a result of their specific activation. Thresholds of positivity were determined by Receiver Operating Characteristic (ROC) curve analysis (results of NI children vs. children with LTBI/aTB) in order to identify infected children in a first stage. Other cut-offs were determined to discriminate subgroups of infected children in a second step (results from children with aTB/LTBI). Analysis of blood monocytes and dendritic cell subsets was performed on 100 μl of blood for 25 of these children as a second test in a pilot study. Results: Combining the results of the blast-induced CD3+ T lymphocytes by Heparin-Binding Haemagglutinin and by Culture Filtrate Protein-10 identified all but one infected children (sensitivity 98.2% and specificity 86.9%, compared to 93.4 and 100% for the TST). Further identification among infected children of those with aTB was best achieved by the results of blast-induced CD8+ T lymphocytes by purified protein derivative (sensitivity for localized aTB: 61.9%, specificity 96.3%), whereas high proportions of blood type 2 myeloid dendritic cells (mDC) were a hallmark of LTBI. Conclusions: New blood-based tests requiring a very small volume allow the accurate identification of M. tuberculosis-infected young children among exposed children and are promising to guide the clinical classification of children with aTB or LTBI.

Originele taal-2English
Aantal pagina's14
TijdschriftFrontiers in Pediatrics
Nummer van het tijdschriftJULY
StatusPublished - 1 jul 2019


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