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The role of genetic factors in clinical tuberculosis is increasingly recognized; how such factors regulate the immune response to Mycobacterium tuberculosis in healthy individuals is unclear. In this study of 255 adult twin pairs residing in The Gambia, West Africa, it is apparent that memory T-cell responses to secreted mycobacterial antigens (85-kDa antigen complex, "short-term culture filtrate," and peptides from the ESAT-6 protein), as well as to the 65-kDa heat shock protein, are subject to effective genetic regulation. The delayed hypersensitivity response to intradermal tuberculin also demonstrates significant genetic variance, while quantitative T-cell and antibody responses to the 38-kDa cell membrane protein appear to be determined largely by environmental factors. Such findings have implications for vaccine development.

Original publication




Journal article


Infect Immun

Publication Date





3989 - 3994


Adolescent, Antigens, Bacterial, Child, Diseases in Twins, Female, Gambia, Genetic Predisposition to Disease, Humans, Interferon-gamma, Lymphocyte Activation, Male, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Skin Tests, T-Lymphocytes, Tuberculosis, Twins