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Scand J Immunol. 2001 Jan;53(1):85-91.

Circulating TNF-alpha, TGF-beta, and IL-10 in tuberculosis patients and healthy contacts.

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Armauer Hansen Research Institute, PO Box 1005, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.


Levels of tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha, transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta, and interleukin (IL)-10 in plasma of pulmonary tuberculosis (TB) patients and healthy contacts and plasma and pleural fluid of patients with tuberculous pleuritis were examined by enzyme immunoassay. Plasma TNF-alpha and IL-10 were elevated to significant levels in healthy contacts. High levels of TGF-beta and IL-10 were also detected in plasma from TB patients and healthy contacts. Pleural fluid contained all three cytokines with the level of IL-10 being highest followed by TGF-beta and TNF-alpha. Plasma of tuberculous pleuritis patients also had detectable levels of the three cytokines. Increased levels of TNF-alpha in plasma of contacts and to some extent pleural fluid of pleuritis patients, is perhaps to limit the infection, while elevated IL-10 in plasma of TB patients and contacts and pleural fluid would perhaps modulate excess proinflammation. Elevated TGF-beta in TB patients suggests its role in the immunopathogenesis.

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