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Utility of B-cell epitopes based peptides of RD1 and RD2 antigens for immunodiagnosis of pulmonary tuberculosis

Bela Goyal, Krishan Kumar, Dheeraj Gupta, Ritesh Agarwal, Romica Latawa, Javaid Ahmad Sheikh, Indu Verma
Diagnostic Microbiology and Infectious Disease 2014, 78 (4): 391-7
Tuberculosis (TB) continues to be a major health problem due to lack of accurate, rapid, and cost-effective diagnostic tests. Serodiagnostic tests incorporating highly specific region of difference (RD) antigens (early secretory antigenic target 6 [ESAT-6], culture filtrate protein 10 [CFP-10], culture filtrate protein 21 [CFP-21], and mycobacterial protein from species tuberculosis 64 [MPT-64]) have recently been shown to be promising for specific diagnosis of TB in our lab. However, only few studies have reported the use of synthetic peptides of RD antigens, and none has used them to differentiate TB from sarcoidosis, a close mimic of smear-negative pulmonary TB (PTB) with entirely different management. The present study was conducted with an aim to study the utility of B-cell epitopes based peptides of RD1 (ESAT-6, CFP-10) and RD2 (CFP-21, MPT-64) antigens for immunodiagnosis of PTB for which sputum smear-positive PTB patients, sputum smear-negative PTB patients, sarcoidosis patients, and healthy controls (n = 24/group) were recruited. Bioinformatic software Bcepred was used to predict linear B-cell epitopes, using physico-chemical properties on a non-redundant dataset. Seven peptides as representative B-cell epitopes of ESAT-6, CFP-10, CFP-21, and MPT-64 were evaluated as targets of the antibody responses in TB patients and controls by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). The current study showed sensitivity with individual peptides ranging from 37.5% to 83.3% for smear positive, 25% to 58.3% for smear negative as compared to 4.16% to 20.8% for sarcoidosis. Four out of 7 peptides that showed higher reactivity with TB patients and better discrimination from sarcoidosis patients representing ESAT-6, CFP-10, CFP-21, and MPT-64 were selected for multiepitope ELISA. The combination of peptides yielded 83.3% sensitivity for smear positive, 62.5% for smear negative, and only 4.16% for sarcoidosis. The specificity, however, for all the peptides/combination was 100%. Combination of peptides has proven to be better than individual peptides as per the latest criteria of the World Health Organization according to which a test that can replace smear microscopy with sensitivity of >90% for smear-positive patients and >65% for smear-negative TB patients with a specificity >95%, and thus, the present study suggests that a test based on combination of peptides selected from mycobacterial RD1 and RD2 antigens could be important for promoting an early diagnosis and management of otherwise difficult to diagnose smear-negative PTB patients. Moreover, it can also be used to discriminate sarcoidosis from PTB, thus preventing the misdiagnosis and mismanagement.


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