Journal of leukocyte biology 2017 04 20() pii 10.1189/jlb.4A0916-067RR
The partial effectiveness against pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB), displayed by the existing tuberculosis (TB) vaccine, bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG), highlights the need for novel vaccines to replace or improve BCG. In TB immunology, antigen-specific cellular immune response is frequently considered indispensable. Latency-associated antigens are intriguing as targets for TB vaccine development. The mycobacterial protein, dihydrolipoamide dehydrogenase (Lpd; Rv0462), the third enzyme of the pyruvate dehydrogenase (PDH) complex, facilitates Mycobacterium tuberculosis to resist host reactive nitrogen intermediates. Multicolor flow cytometry analysis of whole-blood cultures showed higher Lpd-specific Th1 recall response (IFN-γ, TNF-α, and IL-2; P = 0.0006) and memory CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells (CCR7(+) CD45RA(-) and CCR7(-) CD45RA(-)) in healthy household contacts (HHC) of TB (P < 0.0001), which is comparable with or higher than the standard antigens, ESAT-6 and CFP-10. The frequency of Lpd-specific multifunctional T cells was higher in HHC compared with PTB patients. However, there is no significant statistical correlation. Regulatory T cell (Treg) analysis of HHCs and active TB patients demonstrated very low Lpd-specific CD4(+) Tregs relative to ESAT-6 and CFP-10. Our study demonstrates that the Lpd antigen induces a strong cellular immune response in healthy mycobacteria-infected individuals. In consideration of this population having demonstrated immunologic protection against active TB disease development, our data are encouraging about the possible use of Lpd as a target for further TB subunit vaccine development.