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Free Content Evaluation of the diagnostic value of measuring IgG, IgM and IgA antibodies to the recombinant 16-kilodalton antigen of Mycobacterium tuberculosis in childhood tuberculosis

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OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the usefulness of the recombinant 16-kDa antigen (re-Ag16) of Mycobacterium tuberculosis in the serodiagnosis of tuberculosis (TB) in children.

MATERIALS: Seventy-four children with active TB, 49 apparently healthy contact children and 149 children suffering from non-mycobacterial diseases were evaluated. Detection of anti 16-kDa antigen IgG, IgM and IgA was performed by enzyme-immunoassay.

RESULTS: An increased mean antibody response to re-Ag16 was observed in contact children compared with non-mycobacterial disease patients (IgG assay: 89.1 enzymatic units [eu] vs. 40.8 eu; IgM assay: 64.7 eu vs. 38.1 eu; IgA assay: 138.2 eu vs. 78.2 eu for contact children and non-mycobacterial disease patients, respectively), indicating that anti-16-kDa antibodies could be elevated in response to infections even without clinically apparent TB. Setting the specificity as the 95th percentile of the contact group’s ELISA units, the sensitivity of the IgG, IgA and IgM assays were 34%, 19% and 3% respectively; combining results of the IgG and IgA assays led to 43% positivity in children with active TB.

CONCLUSION: The detection of anti 16-kDa IgG and IgA may be useful as a complementary technique for the diagnosis of childhood TB. Recognition of this antigen seems to be heterogeneous; combining responses against other antigens may be a good strategy to improve the performance of this assay.

Keywords: 6-kDa antigen; childhood tuberculosis; serodiagnosis

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: 1: Instituto Nacional de Enfermedades Respiratorias ‘Emilio Coni’, ANLIS ‘C. Malbrán’, Santa Fe, Argentina 2: Instituto de Tecnología Biológica, Facultad de Bioquímica y Ciencias Biológicas, Universidad Nacional del Litoral, Santa Fe, Argentina 3: Hospital de Niños Zona Norte, Rosario, Argentina 4: Programa Provincial de Control de Tuberculosis, Jujuy, Argentina 5: Hospital de Niños H. Quintana, Jujuy, Argentina 6: Hospital de Niños ‘V. J. Vilela’, Rosario, Argentina 7: GBF-German National Centre for Biotechnology, Braunschweig, Germany

Publication date: November 1, 2001

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  • The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease publishes articles on all aspects of lung health, including public health-related issues such as training programmes, cost-benefit analysis, legislation, epidemiology, intervention studies and health systems research. The IJTLD is dedicated to the continuing education of physicians and health personnel and the dissemination of information on tuberculosis and lung health world-wide.

    Certain IJTLD articles are selected for translation into French, Spanish, Chinese or Russian. They are available on the Union website

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