The influence of haemoglobin and iron on in vitro mycobacterial growth inhibition assays.
ABSTRACT: The current vaccine against tuberculosis, live attenuated Mycobacterium bovis BCG, has variable efficacy, but development of an effective alternative is severely hampered by the lack of an immune correlate of protection. There has been a recent resurgence of interest in functional in vitro mycobacterial growth inhibition assays (MGIAs), which provide a measure of a range of different immune mechanisms and their interactions. We identified a positive correlation between mean corpuscular haemoglobin and in vitro growth of BCG in whole blood from healthy UK human volunteers. Mycobacterial growth in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from both humans and macaques was increased following the experimental addition of haemoglobin (Hb) or ferric iron, and reduced following addition of the iron chelator deferoxamine (DFO). Expression of Hb genes correlated positively with mycobacterial growth in whole blood from UK/Asian adults and, to a lesser extent, in PBMC from South African infants. Taken together our data indicate an association between Hb/iron levels and BCG growth in vitro, which may in part explain differences in findings between whole blood and PBMC MGIAs and should be considered when using such assays.
Project description:Despite the widespread use of the Mycobacterium bovis BCG vaccine, there are more than 9 million new cases of tuberculosis (TB) every year, and there is an urgent need for better TB vaccines. TB vaccine candidates are selected for evaluation based in part on the detection of an antigen-specific gamma interferon (IFN-?) response. The measurement of mycobacterial growth in blood specimens obtained from subjects immunized with investigational TB vaccines may be a better in vitro correlate of in vivo vaccine efficacy. We performed a clinical study with 30 United Kingdom adults who were followed for 6 months to evaluate the abilities of both a whole-blood- and a novel peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC)-based mycobacterial growth inhibition assay to measure a response to primary vaccination and revaccination with BCG. Using cryopreserved PBMCs, we observed a significant improvement in mycobacterial growth inhibition following primary vaccination but no improvement in growth inhibition following revaccination with BCG (P < 0.05). Mycobacterial growth inhibition following primary BCG vaccination was not correlated with purified protein derivative (PPD) antigen-specific IFN-? enzyme-linked immunospot (ELISPOT) responses. We demonstrate that a mycobacterial growth inhibition assay can detect improved capacity to control growth following primary immunization, but not revaccination, with BCG. This is the first study to demonstrate that an in vitro growth inhibition assay can identify a difference in vaccine responses by comparing both primary and secondary BCG vaccinations, suggesting that in vitro growth inhibition assays may serve as better surrogates of clinical efficacy than the assays currently used for the assessment of candidate TB vaccines.
Project description:Background: It is important to understand the ability to inhibit mycobacterial growth in healthy adults who would have been Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccinated in childhood as this group will be the potential target population for novel booster TB vaccine trials. In this study we investigated not only the long-term immunity induced by childhood BCG vaccination but also protective immunity in terms of the ability to inhibit mycobacterial growth in those who were BCG vaccinated in childhood, with evidence of recent or remote TB infection. Methods: We measured the baseline immune response using a functional mycobacterial growth inhibition assay (MGIA) as a novel approach and an intracellular cytokine staining (ICS) assay as a reference approach in healthy adults, with different status of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) infection. Results: Based on MGIA responses in historically BCG-vaccinated healthy adults, demographical characteristics including age, and gender did not affect mycobacterial growth inhibition in PBMC. However, the uninfected healthy control (HC) group showed a greater ability to inhibit mycobacterial growth compared with the latent TB infection (LTBI) group (P = 0.0005). In terms of the M. tuberculosis antigen-specific T-cell immune response in diluted whole blood quantitated using an ICS assay, the LTBI group had a higher frequency of polyfunctional CD 4+ T cells compared with the HC group (P = 0.0002), although there was no correlation between ICS and the MGIA assay. Conclusion: The Mtb infection status had a significant impact on mycobacterial growth inhibition in PBMC from healthy adults in South Korea, a country with an intermediate burden of tuberculosis, with healthy controls showing the greatest mycobacterial growth inhibition.
Project description:In order to eliminate tuberculosis (TB), an effective vaccine is urgently needed to prevent infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis. A key obstacle for the development of novel TB vaccines is the lack of surrogate markers for immune protection against M. tuberculosis.We investigated growth rates of M. tuberculosis in the mycobacterial growth inhibition assay (MGIA) as a marker for mycobacterial growth control of human bronchoalveolar lavage (BALC) and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) before and after vaccination with Mycobacterium bovis Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) of healthy adult volunteers.Vaccination induced a positive response (p?<?0.001) to purified protein derivate (PPD) in 58.8% of the individuals in an interferon-? release assay-ELISpot. Intraindividual evaluation of the MGIA growth rates before and after M. bovis BCG-vaccination revealed no significant difference in time to culture positivity before and after vaccination in BALC (p?=?0.604) and PBMC (p?=?0.199). The magnitude of the PPD-response induced by M. bovis BCG-vaccination did not correlate with growth control in BALC and PBMC (correlation?=?0.468, 95% CI: -0.016 to 0.775).In conclusion, M. bovis BCG-vaccination-induced mycobacterial-specific cytokine immune response does not result in functional immune control against M. tuberculosis in the MGIA.
Project description:Bacille Calmette Guerin (BCG) is the most widely administered vaccine in the world yet its mechanism of action remains unclear. In this study, we have used samples from a human mycobacterial challenge study in which previously BCG-vaccinated or BCG-naïve UK adults were challenged intradermally with a standard dose of BCG vaccine. BCG remaining at the site of vaccination was quantified by polymerase chain reaction from a skin biopsy sample taken two weeks post-challenge and was used as a measure of BCG growth and functional anti-mycobacterial immunity. Using gene expression microarrays and flow cytometric analysis of intracellular cytokine production, we show that the magnitude of the immune response is greater in previously vaccinated volunteers and that this correlates with reduced mycobacterial growth but increased scarring at the vaccination site. In particular the IFNγ and IL-17 pathways are strongly induced in previously vaccinated volunteers and correlate with reduced mycobacterial growth in this population. This study supports the use of BCG challenge as a tool for evaluating vaccine efficacy and identifying mechanisms of anti-mycobacterial immunity Overall design: Two groups of volunteers were recruited: BCG naïve (group A, n=11) and those with had previously been vaccinated with BCG (group C, n=13). Volunteers were challenged with a standard dose of SSI BCG on day of challenge (0) and a punch biopsy taken from the site 14 days later (day 14). BCG remaining at the site (present in the biopsy) was quantified by qPCR. BCG was quantified once for each volunteer, at day 14. PBMC were collected from volunteers on days 0, 2, 7 and 14. Gene expression was determined in unstimulated (U) and BCG-stimulated (B) PBMC for the volunteers at each timepoint.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG), the live attenuated tuberculosis vaccine, is manufactured under different conditions across the globe generating formulations that may differ in clinical efficacy. Innate immune recognition of live BCG contributes to immunogenicity suggesting that differences in BCG viability may contribute to divergent activity of licensed formulations. METHODS:We compared BCG-Denmark (DEN), -Japan (JPN), -India (IND), -Bulgaria (BUL) and -USA in vitro with respect to a) viability as measured by colony-forming units (CFU), mycobacterial membrane integrity, and RNA content, and b) cytokine/chemokine production in newborn cord and adult peripheral blood. RESULTS:Upon culture, relative growth was BCG-USA > JPN ? DEN > BUL = IND. BCG-IND and -BUL demonstrated >1000-fold lower growth than BCG-JPN in 7H9 medium and >10-fold lower growth in commercial Middlebrook 7H11 medium. BCG-IND demonstrated significantly decreased membrane integrity, lower RNA content, and weaker IFN-? inducing activity in whole blood compared to other BCGs. BCG-induced whole blood cytokines differed significantly by age, vaccine formulation and concentration. BCG-induced cytokine production correlated with CFU, suggesting that mycobacterial viability may contribute to BCG-induced immune responses. CONCLUSIONS:Licensed BCG vaccines differ markedly in their content of viable mycobacteria possibly contributing to formulation-dependent activation of innate and adaptive immunity and distinct protective effects.
Project description:The live attenuated mycobacterial strain BCG, in use as vaccine against tuberculosis, is considered the gold standard for primary therapy of carcinoma in situ of the bladder. Despite its limitations, to date it has not been surpassed by any other treatment. Our group has developed a recombinant BCG strain expressing the detoxified S1 pertussis toxin (rBCG-S1PT) that proved more effective than wild type BCG (WT-BCG) in increasing survival time in an experimental mouse model of bladder cancer, due to the well-known adjuvant properties of pertussis toxin. Here, we investigated the capacity of rBCG-S1PT to stimulate human immune responses, in comparison to WT-BCG, using an in vitro stimulation assay based on human whole blood cells that allows for a comprehensive evaluation of leukocyte activation. Blood leukocytes stimulated with rBCG-S1PT produced increased levels of IL-6, IL-8, and IL-10 as compared to WT-BCG, but comparable levels of IL-1β, IL-2, IFN-γ, and TNF-α. Stimulation of blood cells with the recombinant BCG strain also enhanced the expression of CD25 and CD69 on human CD4+ T cells. PBMC stimulated with rBCG-S1PT induced higher cytotoxicity to MB49 bladder cancer cells than WT-BCG-stimulated PBMC. These results suggest that the rBCG-S1PT strain is able to activate an immune response in human leukocytes that is higher than that induced by WT-BCG for parameters linked to better prognosis in bladder cancer (regulation of immune and early inflammatory responses), while fully comparable to WT-BCG for classical inflammatory parameters. This establishes rBCG-S1PT as a new highly effective candidate as immunotherapeutic agent against bladder cancer.
Project description:Tuberculosis (TB) is a leading infectious cause of death globally. Drug treatment and vaccination, in particular with Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG), remain the main strategies to control TB. With the emergence of drug resistance, it has been proposed that a combination of TB vaccination with pharmacological treatment may provide a greater therapeutic value. We implemented an ex vivo mycobacterial growth inhibition assay (MGIA) to discriminate vaccine responses in historically BCG-vaccinated human volunteers and to assess the contribution of vaccine-mediated immune response towards the killing effect of mycobacteria in the presence of the antibiotics isoniazid (INH) and rifampicin (RIF), in an attempt to develop the assay as a screening tool for therapeutic TB vaccines. BCG vaccination significantly enhanced the ability of INH to control mycobacterial growth ex vivo. The BCG-vaccinated group displayed a higher production of IFN-γ and IP-10 when peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) were co-cultured with INH, with a similar trend during co-culture with RIF. A higher frequency of IFN-γ+ and TNF-α+ CD3- CD4- CD8- cells was observed, suggesting the contribution of Natural Killer (NK) cells in the combined effect between BCG vaccination and INH. Taken together, our data indicate the efficacy of INH can be augmented following historical BCG vaccination, which support findings from previous observational and animal studies.
Project description:Tuberculosis (TB) remains a leading global cause of morbidity and mortality and an effective new vaccine is urgently needed. A major barrier to the rational development of novel TB vaccines is the lack of a validated immune correlate or biomarker of protection. Mycobacterial Growth Inhibition Assays (MGIAs) provide an unbiased measure of ability to control mycobacterial growth in vitro, and may represent a functional correlate of protection. However, the biological relevance of any potential correlate can only be assessed by determining the association with in vivo protection from either a controlled mycobacterial infection or natural development of TB disease. Our data demonstrate that the direct MGIA using peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) is measuring a biologically relevant response that correlates with protection from in vivo human BCG infection across two independent cohorts. This is the first report of an MGIA correlating with in vivo protection in the species-of-interest, humans, and furthermore on a per-individual as well as per-group basis. Control of mycobacterial growth in the MGIA is associated with a range of immune parameters measured post-BCG infection in vivo including the IFN-? ELISpot response, frequency of PPD-specific IFN-? or TNF-? producing CD4+ T cells and frequency of specific sub-populations of polyfunctional CD4+ T cells. Distinct transcriptomic profiles are associated with good vs. poor mycobacterial control in the MGIA, with good controllers showing enrichment for gene sets associated with antigen processing/presentation and the IL-23 pathway, and poor controllers showing enrichment for hypoxia-related pathways. This study represents an important step toward biologically validating the direct PBMC MGIA for use in TB vaccine development and furthermore demonstrates the utility of this assay in determining relevant immune mechanisms and pathways of protection.
Project description:In humans, recessive loss-of-function mutations in STAT1 are associated with mycobacterial and viral infections, whereas gain-of-function (GOF) mutations in STAT1 are associated with a type of primary immunodeficiency related mainly, but not exclusively, to chronic mucocutaneous candidiasis (CMC). We studied and established a molecular diagnosis in a pediatric patient with mycobacterial infections, associated with CMC. The patient, daughter of a non-consanguineous mestizo Mexican family, had axillary adenitis secondary to BCG vaccination and was cured with resection of the abscess at 1-year old. At the age of 4?years, she had a supraclavicular abscess with acid-fast-staining bacilli identified in the soft tissue and bone, with clinical signs of disseminated infection and a positive Gene-X-pert test, which responded to anti-mycobacterial drugs. Laboratory tests of the IL-12/interferon gamma (IFN-?) circuit showed a higher production of IL-12p70 in the whole blood from the patient compared to healthy controls, when stimulated with BCG and BCG?+?IFN-?. The whole blood of the patient produced 35% less IFN-? compared to controls assessed by ELISA and flow cytometry, but IL-17 producing T cells from patient were almost absent in PBMC stimulated with PMA plus ionomycin. Signal transduction and activator of transcription 1 (STAT1) was hyperphosphorylated at tyrosine 701 in response to IFN-? and -?, as demonstrated by flow cytometry and Western blotting in fresh blood mononuclear cells and in Epstein-Barr virus lymphoblastoid cell lines (EBV-LCLs); phosphorylation of STAT1 in EBV-LCLs from the patient was resistant to inhibition by staurosporine but sensitive to ruxolitinib, a Jak phosphorylation inhibitor. Genomic DNA sequencing showed a de novo mutation in STAT1 in cells from the patient, absent in her parents and brother; a known T385M missense mutation in the DNA-binding domain of the transcription factor was identified, and it is a GOF mutation. Therefore, GOF mutations in STAT1 can induce susceptibility not only to fungal but also to mycobacterial infections by mechanisms to be determined.
Project description:Background:The high prevalence of haemoglobin variants and glucose 6-phosphate dehydrogenase disorder (G6PDd) in sub-Saharan Africa means that substantial proportions of donor blood units carry these red cell abnormalities. Aim:This study investigated the impact that inherited haemoglobin variants and/or G6PD status have on whole blood banked at 4-6°C for 35 days. Method:This repeated-measure cohort study was undertaken on 103 donor blood units collected into blood bag containing CPDA-1 anticoagulant. On days 0, 7, 14, 21, and 35, full blood count, osmotic-induced haemolysis, and plasma K+ levels were estimated. Also, on day 0, G6PD status, haemoglobin variants, % foetal haemoglobin, and blood group of donor units were determined using methaemoglobin reductase, cellulose acetate electrophoresis, modified Bekte alkali denaturation assay, and slide haemagglutination test, respectively. Result:Overall, although plasma K+ levels increased during storage, donor units from individuals ?20 years, G6PD normal, Hb AC, or blood group B had comparatively higher percentage change in plasma K+ during storage. Osmotically induced haemolysis of donor units was significantly decreased in Hb AC (compared with Hb A or AS) donor units on days 7, 14, 21, and 35 (p < 0.0001 in each case). G6PDd donor units had comparatively reduced osmotic-induced lysis compared with G6PD normal units, reaching a statistical significance on day 35 (p = 0.043). Also, Hb AC units had comparatively nonstatistically higher plasma K+ at all time points (compared with Hb A or AS). Furthermore, whereas donor units from individuals ?20 years showed significantly higher median free haemoglobin on day 21 (compared to donor <20 years), when donor units were stratified per Hb variants, only Hb AS units had median free haemoglobin below the 0.8% threshold after 35 days' storage. Conclusion:Age of donor, blood group, Hb AC variant, and G6PD status may be important considerations in the storability of whole blood.