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Neuroimmunomodulation. 2007;14(3-4):193-9. Epub 2007 Dec 5.

Impaired immune responses in tuberculosis patients are related to weight loss that coexists with an immunoendocrine imbalance.

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Instituto de InmunologĂ­a, Facultad de Ciencias MĂ©dicas, Universidad Nacional de Rosario, Rosario, Argentina.


The study's objective was to examine whether factors related to the host status may bear some relation with the profile of the immune response displayed by tuberculosis (TB) patients. The in vitro immune response (antigen-driven lymphoproliferation and cytokine production) and the presence of alcoholism or disease-related factors, like heart and respiratory rates, and weight loss (body mass index, BMI) were investigated in 31 males with active, untreated TB. Compared to 16 age-matched healthy males, TB patients presented depressed lymphoproliferation and increased IL-10 and TGF-beta production. Multivariate analysis indicated that most differences were no longer significant when controlling for the BMI. Immune and endocrine changes coexisting with weight loss, such as circulating levels of TNF-alpha, IFN-gamma, IL-6, cortisol, dehydroepiandrosterone and thyroid hormones, were also analyzed. While pairwise correlations between serum levels of IFN-gamma, T3 or T4 and BMI were not significant, BMI was negatively correlated with IL-6 levels (p < 0.025). In turn, levels of IL-6 correlated positively with cortisol concentrations (p <0.001). Stepwise regression analysis demonstrated that BMI was only associated with IL-6 (r = -0.423, R(2) = 0.18), with the difference remaining significant following adjustment for the other variables. As regards IL-6, BMI, cortisol and IFN-gamma could explain 74% of variability in IL-6 concentrations (R(2) = 0.74). No evidence for effect modification was shown when performing adjusted calculations. To conclude, the relation between weight loss and abnormal immune response of TB patients is partly associated with the immunoendocrine imbalance observed in parallel.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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