Regulatory T cells modulate Th17 responses in patients with positive tuberculin skin test results

The Journal of Infectious Diseases
Subash BabuThomas B Nutman


The factors governing latency in tuberculosis are not well understood but appear to involve both the pathogen and the host. We have used tuberculin skin test (TST) positivity as a tool to study cytokine responses in latent tuberculosis. To identify the host factors that are important in the maintenance of TST positivity, we examined mycobacteria-specific immune responses of TST-positive (latent tuberculosis) or TST-negative individuals in South India, where TST positivity can define tuberculosis latency. Although purified protein derivative-specific and Mycobacterium tuberculosis culture filtrate antigen-specific Th1 and Th2 cytokines were not statistically significantly different between the 2 groups, the Th17 cytokines (interleukin 17 and interleukin 23) were statistically significantly decreased in TST-positive individuals, compared with those in TST-negative individuals. This Th17 cytokine modulation was associated with statistically significantly increased expression of cytotoxic T lymphocyte antigen 4 (CTLA-4) and Foxp3. Although CTLA-4 blockade failed to restore full production of interleukin 17 and interleukin 23 in TST-positive individuals, depletion of regulatory T cells significantly increased production of these cyt...Continue Reading


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