Lymphocyte transformation test

What is a lymphocyte transformation test?

The lymphocyte transformation test (LTT) is a special laboratory procedure. It detects antigen-specific T lymphocytes. The T-lymphocytes are white blood cells that the body needs for immune defence, i.e. to defend itself against foreign material, such as bacteria.

Antigen-specific means that these T-lymphocytes can recognize a certain foreign protein, i.e. an antigen, and then initiate the immune defense. These foreign proteins or antigens are produced by bacteria or viruses, for example. They also play a role in allergies.

In case of an allergy, these antigen-specific T-lymphocytes recognize an actual harmless protein as dangerous and falsely start an immune reaction. This is how the allergic reaction occurs. In the lymphocyte transformation test, it can be tested whether T-lymphocytes are present against a specific antigen. Among other things, allergies can be recognized and detected.

When is a lymphocyte transformation test performed?

Essentially, the lymphocyte transformation test is used to detect and identify allergies. However, it is not possible to examine for all possible allergies. A selection must be made beforehand for which allergies the test is to be performed.

The allergies can be tested if there is a suspicion that a certain allergy exists. The test can also be performed prophylactically in some cases. One situation where prophylactic testing may be useful is in dental restorations.

Allergies can occur to dental restorative materials. In order to make sure that the chosen replacement materials are tolerated, a lymphocyte transformation test can be performed for the materials in question. In addition, the lymphocyte transformation test is used to detect Lyme disease. Furthermore, the test is often used in research. However, the lymphocyte transformation test is not useful for the detection of all allergies, because for some allergies there are better suited methods.

Detection of Borrelia bacteria

The lymphocyte transformation test is used for detection of Lyme disease. However, its significance in the case of Lyme disease is very controversial. In the first place, the diagnosis of Lyme disease should be made according to symptoms and a blood test.

In some cases this is not sufficient for a clear diagnosis. In such cases a lymphocyte transformation test can be used. However, the test should not be used if there are no indications of Lyme disease, as there is also the risk of misinterpretation. The test can also be used to check the success of an antibiotic treatment or to identify reactivated Lyme disease.