, Volume 17, Issue 3, pp 305-312

Antigenic relationship between reactivity to hepatitis B e antigen and 19 kDa protein ofMycobacterium tuberculosis among the Tibetan settlers in Karnataka

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Abstract

McGlynn and her co-workers have reported that among the Vietnamese refugees in Philadelphia and among Alaskan natives who are hepatitis B carriers, there is a statistically significant association between anegative tuberculin test and the presence of hepatitis B e antigen. A repetition of this work among the population of Bangalore did not yield any significant results because of the very low incidence of hepatitis found among this population. However, on the basis of available data that hepatitis B infection is more prevalent among the Mongolian population than among people of other populations, the work was repeated among Tibetans who had settled down in Karnataka. This set of experiments showed that, contrary to the report of McGlynnet al, there is a statistically significant association between apositive tuberculin test and the presence of hepatitis B e antigen and that those individuals who showed the presence of hepatitis B e antigen exhibited less severe form of the disease than those who were negative to this antigen. These findings suggested that immunity to tuberculosis and hepatitis B infections may have a common underlying principle. Data bank search revealed a stretch of amino acid sequences which is common to hepatitis B e antigen and 19 kDa antigen ofMycobacterium tuberculosis. The significance of these results is discussed.