Around two billion people throughout the world carry the pathogenic bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis — only one tenth of them actually develop tuberculosis (TB). Predicting who will fall ill is impossible. Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology in Berlin, Germany, have discovered several candidates for biomarkers that indicate a person’s susceptibility to TB. They compared the gene activity in tuberculosis patients and in individuals latently infected. They found 1935 genes in tuberculosis patients that differed in activity from those of latently infected patients, with the greatest difference between two groups in the Fc gamma receptor which is located on the surface of immune cells.
By using this and four other biomarkers, the researchers were able to diagnose tuberculosis patients with 94 % certainty and latently infected healthy subjects with 97 % certainty.
Image: © Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology/Volker Brinkmann
- Human gene expression profiles of susceptibility and resistance in tuberculosis
J. Maertzdorf, D. Repsilber, S. K. Parida, K. Stanley, T. Roberts, G. Black, G. Walzl, S. H. E. Kaufmann,
Genes and Immunity 2011, 12, 15–22.
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