Tuberculosis (TB) vaccine development is hindered by the lack of clear surrogate markers of protective human immunity to Mycobacterium tuberculosis. This study evaluated the hypothesis that immune-mediated inhibition of mycobacterial growth would more directly correlate with protective TB immunity than other immunologic responses. Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccination, known to induce partial protection against TB, was used as a model system to investigate mechanistic relationships among different parameters of antigen-specific immunity. Effects of primary and booster intradermal BCG vaccinations were assessed in 3 distinct assays of mycobacterial inhibition. Correlations between vaccine-induced growth inhibition and other immune responses were analyzed. BCG significantly enhanced all antigen-specific responses. Peak responses occurred at 2 months after boosting. Statistical analyses suggested that each assay measured unique aspects of mycobacterial immunity. Despite previous evidence that type 1 immune responses are essential for TB immunity, interferon-γ production did not correlate with mycobacterial inhibition. These results have important implications for TB vaccine development.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health