Simultaneous measurement of antigen-induced CXCL10 and IFN-γ enhances test sensitivity for bovine TB detection in cattle

Michael Coad, Mairead Doyle, Sabine Steinbach, Eamonn Gormley, Martin Vordermeier, Gareth Jones*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Bovine tuberculosis (BTB) is a disease of economic and zoonotic importance caused mainly by Mycobacterium bovis. In addition to the tuberculin skin test, an interferon-gamma (IFN-γ) release assay (IGRA) blood test has been incorporated in the BTB control programs of numerous countries as an ancillary test to the skin test. A potential disadvantage of the IGRA assay is that it relies solely on the measurement of a single readout (i.e. IFN-γ) for the detection of BTB. In this study we have assessed the practical use of CXCL10 as an additional biomarker for the diagnosis of BTB in the setting of the current testing approach alongside IGRA. To do so, we have assessed both IFN-γ and CXCL10 readouts in blood cultures from a variety of different BTB cattle groups stimulated with standard tuberculin reagents and also with more specific defined antigens (ESAT-6, CFP-10 and Rv3615c). When using a tuberculin based whole blood assay, CXCL10 alone could not substitute for IFN-γ as the analyte measured in the test without reducing the sensitivity of detecting BTB animals. However, when used as an additional test readout, CXCL10 identified BTB animals that failed to induce IFN-γ responses. When tested in non-infected animals, the use of the dual biomarker system had the potential to lower overall test specificity, however this could be overcome by raising the cut-off values for CXCL10 test positivity. Taken together, the results demonstrate that in particular settings, measurement of CXCL10 has the potential to complement the current use of IFN-γ in blood assays to maximise the detection of BTB.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalVeterinary Microbiology
Early online date07 Jan 2019
Publication statusPublished - 01 Mar 2019


  • Bovine tuberculosis
  • CXCL10
  • Diagnostic test
  • Bacterial Proteins/immunology
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay/veterinary
  • Interferon-gamma Release Tests/veterinary
  • Mycobacterium bovis/immunology
  • Tuberculin Test/veterinary
  • United Kingdom
  • Chemokine CXCL10/blood
  • Tuberculosis, Bovine/diagnosis
  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Biomarkers/blood
  • Antigens, Bacterial/immunology
  • Serologic Tests/veterinary
  • Interferon-gamma/blood


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