Role of Mycobacterium avium lysate INF-γ, IL-17, and IL-2 ELISPOT assays in diagnosing nontuberculous mycobacteria lymphadenitis in children

Chiara Della Bella, Elisabetta Venturini, Savannah Devente, Paola Piccini, Simona Tapinassi, Leila Bianchi, Alessia Grassi, Marisa Benagiano, Heba F. Mustafa Alnwaisri, Carlotta Montagnani, Elena Chiappini, Wilbert Bitter, Mario M. D’Elios, Maurizio de Martino, Luisa Galli, Mario Milco D'Elios

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3 Citations (Scopus)


Nontuberculous mycobacteria are the most frequent cause of chronic cervical lymphadenitis in childhood. The aim of the study was to evaluate the performance of IL-2, IL-17, and INF-γ in-house enzyme-linked immunospot assays using a Mycobacterium avium lysate, in order to identify a noninvasive diagnostic method of nontuberculous mycobacteria infection. Children with subacute and chronic lymphadenopathies or with a previous diagnosis of nontuberculous mycobacteria lymphadenitis were prospectively enrolled in the study. Sixty children with lymphadenitis were included in our study: 16 with confirmed infection (group 1), 30 probable infected (group 2) and 14 uninfected (group 3). Significantly higher median cytokine values were found in group 1 vs group 2, in group 1 vs group 3, and in group 2 vs group 3 considering IL-2-based enzyme-linked immunospot assay (p = 0.015, p < 0.001, p = 0.004, respectively). INF-γ-based enzyme-linked immunospot assay results were significantly higher in group 2 vs group 3 (p = 0.010). Differences between infected and uninfected children were not significant considering IL-17 assays (p = 0.431). Mycobacterium avium lysate IL-2 and INF-γ-based enzyme-linked immunospot assays seem to be promising noninvasive diagnostic techniques for discriminating children with nontuberculous mycobacteria lymphadenitis and noninfected subjects.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1113–1122
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases
Early online date1 Jan 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2019


  • Children
  • Lymphadenitis
  • Mycobacterium avium
  • Nontuberculous mycobacteria

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