Lymphocyte responses to Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Mycobacterium bovis are similar between BCG-vaccinated patients with cystic fibrosis and healthy controls

Renan M Mauch, Paulo César M Alves, Carlos E Levy, José D Ribeiro, Antônio F Ribeiro, Niels Høiby, Marcos T Nolasco da Silva

Abstract

BACKGROUND: The low rate of nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) among Brazilian patients with cystic fibrosis (CF) may be due to cross-reactive Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccination. In the present pilot study, we aimed to compare the lymphocyte responses against Mycobacterium tuberculosis(Mtb) and Mycobacterium bovis (BCG) in BCG-vaccinated CF patients and healthy controls.

METHODS: The lymphocyte responses of CF patients (n = 10) and healthy controls (n = 10) were assessed in terms of lymphocyte proliferation index (LPI), using flow cytometry. Median rates of each cell subtype - CD4, CD8, γδ T cells and CD19 (B) cells - were also determined.

RESULTS: Median LPIs (CF vs. controls) were 22.9% vs. 13.0% (p = 0.481) and 23.1% vs. 17.6% (p = 0.481), upon stimulation with Mtb and BCG, respectively. Both groups had a predominant CD4 T cell response to Mtb (median rate = 82.5% vs. 79.7%; p = 0.796) and BCG (LPI = 84.3% vs. 83.0%; p = 0.853), which were significantly higher than the CD8, CD19 and γδ responses within both groups. CF patients tended to have a higher CD8 T cell response upon stimulation with the phytohemagglutinin mitogen than healthy controls (median rate = 42.8% vs. 31.7%, p = 0.075).

CONCLUSION: The responses of BCG-vaccinated CF patients to Mtb and BCG are at least similar to those of healthy individuals. These are probably memory responses elicited by the BCG vaccination, which can cross-react with NTM and may explain the low frequency of NTM lung infection in our CF center.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of cystic fibrosis : official journal of the European Cystic Fibrosis Society
Volume19
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)575-579
Number of pages5
ISSN1569-1993
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2020

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