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Mechanism Of Action
The sensitization following infection with mycobacteria occurs primarily in the regional lymph nodes. Small lymphocytes (T lymphocytes) proliferate in response to the antigenic stimulus to give rise to specifically sensitized lymphocytes. After 3-8 weeks, these lymphocytes enter the blood stream and circulate for years. (7) Subsequent restimulation of these sensitized lymphocytes with the same or a similar antigen, such as the intradermal injection of TUBERSOL, evokes a local reaction mediated by these cells. (8)
Characteristically, delayed hypersensitivity reactions to tuberculin begin at 5 to 6 hours, are maximal at 48 to 72 hours and subside over a period of days. The resultant immune response consists of induration due to cell infiltration and occasionally vesiculation and necrosis. Clinically, a delayed hypersensitivity reaction to tuberculin is a manifestation of previous infection with M tuberculosis or a variety of non-tuberculosis bacteria. In most cases sensitization is induced by natural mycobacterial infection or by vaccination with BCG Vaccine.
7 Menzies D. Interpretation of repeated tuberculin tests. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 1999;159:15-21.
8 American Thoracic Society: Diagnostic standards and classification of tuberculosis in adults and children. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2000;161:1376-1395.
Last reviewed on RxList: 2/5/2016
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
Additional Tubersol Information
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