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Respir Med. 1999 Aug;93(8):557-62.

Clinical and serological studies of tuberculosis patients in Argentina receiving immunotherapy with Mycobacterium vaccae (SRL 172).

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Catedra de Microbiologia, Facultad de Ciencias Medicas, Universidad Nacional de Rosario, Rosario, Argentina.


Two small, placebo-controlled studies of immunotherapy with heat killed Mycobacterium vaccae added to routine chemotherapy for pulmonary tuberculosis, together involving 40 HIV seronegative patients, were carried out in Argentina. The immunotherapy was associated with reduced sputum smear positivity of AFB at 1 month and a greater reduction in ESR at 2 months. In the first study radiological improvement was better (P < 0.05) among immunotherapy recipients. In the second study, weight regain and time to become apyrexial were measured and were found to be improved amongst immunotherapy recipients (P < 0.05). In the first month of treatment the levels of IgG to the 65 kDa and 70 kDa heat-shock proteins showed greater falls following immunotherapy (P < 0.05 and P < 0.001, respectively). On admission serum cytokine levels of interleukins 4 and 10 (IL-4, IL-10), interferon gamma (IFN-gamma) and tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) were grossly raised in comparison with a matched control group (P < 0.001). After 1 month. Levels of IL-4, IL-10 and TNF-alpha fell (P < 0.001, P < 0.01 and P < 0.01, respectively) and levels of IFN-gamma rose more (P = 0.005) in immunotherapy recipients than in those receiving chemotherapy alone. The results are in accord with a switch towards a TH1 immunological status and clinical benefit for immunotherapy recipients.

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