Sarcoidosis is a systemic granulomatous disease associated with local epithelioid granulomas, CD4+T cells, and Th1 cytokines. The tissue Ags that drive this granulomatous inflammation are uncertain. In this study, we used IFNγ-ELISPOT assays and flow cytometry to assess lung and blood T cell responses to the candidate pathogenic Ag, Mycobacterium tuberculosis catalase-peroxidase (mKatG) in patients with sarcoidosis from two centers. Despite differences in patient phenotypic, genetic, and prognostic characteristics, we report that T cell responses to mKatG were remarkably similar in these cohorts, with higher frequencies of mKatG-reactive, IFN-γ-expressing T cells in the blood of sarcoidosis patients compared with nontuberculosis sensitized healthy controls, and (in a subset) in greater numbers than T cells reactive to purified protein derivative. In sarcoidosis, mKatG-reactive CD4+Th1 cells preferentially accumulated in the lung, indicating a compartmentalized response. Patients with or without Löfgren syndrome had similar frequencies of mKatG specific IFN-γ-expressing blood T cells. Circulating mKatG-reactive T cells were found in chronic active sarcoidosis but not in patients with inactive disease. Together, these results demonstrate that T cell responses to mKatG in sarcoidosis fit a profile expected for a pathogenic Ag, supporting an immunotherapeutic approach to this disease.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy