Dynamics of interferon-gamma release assay and cytokine profiles in blood and respiratory tract specimens from mice with tuberculosis and the effect of therapy
There are limitations on diagnostic methods to differentiate between active and latent tuberculosis (TB), and the prediction of latent progression to TB disease is yet complex. Traditionally, tuberculosis-specific host immune response was visualized using the tuberculin skin test. Nowadays, IFN-γ release assays (IGRA) provide a more specific and sensitive tool, by which exposure to Mtb could be determined. However, the merit of IGRA aids in diagnosing active TB is yet unclear. We adapted IGRA for use in mice, and quantifying bead-based flow cytometry techniques were used to assess cytokine profiles during the course of untreated infection and to investigate the value of IGRA and cytokines as biomarkers for therapy response. High variability of IGRA results during progression of active TB infection related to various phases of infection was obtained. However, a significant decrease in IGRA results and in levels of IFN-γ, IL-17, IP-10 or MIG was observed and appeared to be associated with successful therapy. This outcome does not support the value of IGRA to accurately diagnose active TB or to monitor infection progression. However, IGRA proved to be a useful biomarker to monitor therapy success. In addition, different cytokines might serve as biomarkers.