The ligands for CXC chemokine receptor 3 (CXCR3) recruit T-helper type 1 cells, which play a major role in cell-mediated immunity in TB.
A total of 409 subjects were enrolled. The study population comprised 186 patients with active TB, 58 patients with non-TB pulmonary diseases, 50 control subjects with a positive interferon (IFN)-γ release assay (IGRA) result, and 115 control subjects with a negative IGRA result. Whole-blood samples were collected using IGRA methodology. After incubation, plasma IFN-γ levels and two CXCR3 ligands, IFN-inducible T-cell α-chemoattractant (I-TAC, CXCL11) and monokine induced by IFN-γ (MIG, CXCL9), were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis was performed. Sensitivity and specificity were based on cutoff values selected to maximize the Youden index.
The TB antigen-stimulated levels of IFN-γ, I-TAC, and MIG were significantly increased in the active pulmonary TB group compared with all other groups. From ROC analysis, for the diagnosis of active TB, I-TAC and MIG outperformed IFN-γ in all comparisons with the IGRA-positive and -negative control groups and the non-TB pulmonary disease group. The areas under the curve (95% CI) for differentiating active pulmonary TB from all other groups were 0.893 (0.864-0.924) for IFN-γ, 0.962 (0.946-0.978) for I-TAC, and 0.944 (0.922-0.965) for MIG. Sensitivity and specificity were 90.3% and 90.7%, respectively, for I-TAC; 92.5% and 85.2% for MIG; and 84.9% and 79.8% for IFN-γ.
TB antigen-stimulated assays of I-TAC and MIG may be useful surrogate markers in the diagnosis of active pulmonary TB.