Indexed on: 06 Sep '06Published on: 06 Sep '06Published in: Microbes and Infection
Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection in non-human primates parallels human tuberculosis, and provides a valuable vaccine evaluation model. However, this model is limited by the availability of real-time, non-invasive information regarding disease progression. Consequently, we have combined computed tomography scanning with enumeration of antigen-specific T cell responses. Four rhesus monkeys were infected with M. tuberculosis strain H37Rv (1000 cfu) in the right lower lobe via a bronchoscope. All uniformly developed progressive tuberculosis, and required euthanasia at 12 weeks. Computed tomography scanning provided detailed real-time imaging of disease progression. At necropsy, computed tomography and pathohistologic findings were tightly correlated, and characteristic of human disease. Immunologic monitoring demonstrated progressive evolution of high frequency M. tuberculosis-specific CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cell responses. Peripheral blood effector cell frequencies were similar to those observed in tissues. In summary, computed tomography scanning in conjunction with immunologic monitoring provides a non-invasive, accurate, and rapid assessment of tuberculosis in the non-human primate.