Combinatorial immunoprofiling in latent tuberculosis infection: Toward better risk stratification

Patricio Escalante, Tobias Peikert, Virginia P. Van Keulen, Courtney L. Erskine, Cathy L. Bornhorst, Boleyn R. Andrist, Kevin McCoy, Larry R. Pease, Roshini S. Abraham, Keith L. Knutson, Hirohito Kita, Adam G. Schrum, Andrew H. Limper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Rationale: Most immunocompetent patients diagnosed with latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) will not progress to tuberculosis (TB) reactivation. However, current diagnostic tools cannot reliably distinguish nonprogressing from progressing patients a priori, and thus LTBI therapy must be prescribed with suboptimal patient specificity. We hypothesized that LTBI diagnostics could be improved by generating immunomarker profiles capable of categorizing distinct patient subsets by a combinatorial immunoassay approach. Objectives: A combinatorial immunoassay analysis was applied to identify potential immunomarker combinations that distinguish among unexposed subjects, untreated patients with LTBI, and treated patients with LTBI and to differentiate risk of reactivation. Methods: IFN-g release assay (IGRA) was combined with a flow cytometric assay that detects induction of CD25+CD134+ coexpression on TB antigen-stimulated T cells from peripheral blood. The combinatorial immunoassay analysis was based on receiver operating characteristic curves, technical cut-offs, 95% bivariate normal density ellipse prediction, and statistical analysis. Risk of reactivation was estimated with a prediction formula. Measurements and Main Results: Sixty-five out of 150 subjects were included. The combinatorial immunoassay approach identified at least four different T-cell subsets. The representation of these immune phenotypes was more heterogeneous in untreated patients with LTBI than in treated patients with LTBI or unexposed groups. Patients with IGRA(+) CD4+CD25+CD134+ T-cell phenotypes had the highest estimated reactivation risk (4.11 ± 2.11%). Conclusions: These findings suggest that immune phenotypes defined by combinatorial assays may potentially have a role in identifying those at risk of developing TB; this potential role is supported by risk of reactivation modeling. Prospective studies will be needed to test this novel approach.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)605-617
Number of pages13
JournalAmerican journal of respiratory and critical care medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015


  • Biomarker
  • Flow cytometry
  • Immunoassay
  • Latent tuberculosis infection
  • Tuberculosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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