Interferon gamma releasing assays (IGRAs) are extensively used in the diagnosis of latent tuberculosis infections. Comparing to tuberculin skin test (TST) they lack false positive results in the populations vaccinated with BCG, and in most non-tuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) infections. Nevertheless, Mycobacterium kansasii, Mycobacterium marinum, and Mycobacterium szulgai may induce positive IGRAs due to RD1 homology with Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The aim of the study was to investigate the possible influence of NTM respiratory isolates on the results of IGRAs. 39 patients (23 females and 16 males) of median age 61 years, with negative medical history concerning tuberculosis, entered the study. Identification of NTM was performed using the niacin test and molecular method GenoType CM test (Hain Lifescience). QFT-Plus was performed in 17 patients, T-SPOT-Tb – in 23 patients. Chest X-rays and a high-resolution computed tomography of the chest have been reviewed by the experienced radiologist blinded to the results of IGRAs, in search of past tuberculosis signs. Positive IGRAs results were obtained in three out of 39 patients (8%): 22% of patients with M. kansasii isolates and 18% of patients with radiological signs on HRCT that might be suggestive of past tuberculosis. Positive IGRAs correlated with radiological signs suggestive of past tuberculosis (r = 0.32, p = 0.04), and on the borderline with isolation of M. kansasii (r = 0.29, p = 0.06). These findings may suggest that a positive IGRAs result, in our material, could depend mostly on asymptomatic past Tb infection. The cross-reactivity of M. kansasii isolates with IGRAs was less probable; nevertheless, it requires further investigations.

Publication timeframe:
4 times per year
Journal Subjects:
Life Sciences, Microbiology and Virology