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Abteilung InfektiologieKlinik für Innere Medizin II

Research areas

Diagnostics of mycobacterial diseases

Mycobacterial disease, e.g. tuberculosis as well as non-tuberculous mycobacterial diseases are of growing importance worldwide. Diagnostic blood tests for latent tuberculosis have recently developed and approved by FDA using specific mycobacterial antigens to stimulate T-cells for Interferon-g-secretion. The evaluability of these test in immunocompromised patients is unclear and is evaluated by our group in two studies, one in cooperation with the TB-NET. Interferon-g is one of several cytokines secreted upon T-cell stimulation, another project is the evaluation of other cytokines for the diagnosis of latent tuberculosis in supernatants of full blood stimulated by specific TB-antigen.

Diagnosis of non-tuberculous pulmonary disease in adults is hampered by the difficulties to distinguish colonization and infection and requires the isolation of the same mycobacterium from respiratory secretions at two seperate occasions. The need for a diagnostic method for measurements of specific T-cell immunity is evident. We therefore pursue a diagnostic trial for the detection of specific antibodies and T-cell immunity to specific M. avium proteins.

NTM-infections

Severe infections with nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) are marker diseases for several defined immunodeficiency disorders. However, host and environmental factors that predispose humans without overt immunodeficiency to NTM infections have not been sufficiently elucidated. In cooperation with Alexandra Nieters (Tandem project 12) we are in the progress of starting a multinational patient cohort of children and adults with NTM infections and matched controls. In a pilot study, we will explore the relevance of DNA methylation patterns of candidate genes with putative roles in anti-mycobacterial immunity.

Also we initiated the NTM-NET in 2009 with the first NTM-NET meeting held in Freiburg. Being elected Steering Committee member of the TB-NET for NTM-infections, Dirk Wagner coordinates the NTM-NET since than with several studies being started.