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J Bras Pneumol. 2008 Nov;34(11):942-9.

Cytokines and acute phase serum proteins as markers of inflammatory regression during the treatment of pulmonary tuberculosis.

[Article in English, Portuguese]

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Faculdade de Medicina de Botucatu, Universidade Estadual Paulista Julio de Mesquita Filho, Botucatu, SP, Brasil.



To evaluate the pattern of pro-inflammatory cytokines, anti-inflammatory cytokines and the acute phase response (APR) as markers of the response to treatment of pulmonary tuberculosis.


Twenty-eight patients with pulmonary tuberculosis were evaluated at three time points: pretreatment (T0), treatment month 3 (T3) and treatment month 6 (T6). Levels of interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma), tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), interleukine-10 (IL-10) and transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) were determined using ELISA in the supernatant of peripheral blood mononuclear cell and monocyte culture. Levels of total protein, albumin, globulins, C-reactive protein (CRP), alpha-1-acid glycoprotein (AAG) and erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) were also determined. All of these parameters were also evaluated, only once, in a group of healthy controls.


In relation to controls, patients presented cytokine levels and APR that were higher at T0, lower at T3 and either lower (TNF-alpha, IL-10, TGF-beta, AAG and ESR) or normal (IFN-gamma and CRP) at T6.


For individuals with negative smear sputum microscopy, CRP, AAG and ESR are potential markers of pulmonary tuberculosis and of the need for treatment; CRP (T0 > T3 > T6 = reference) can also be a marker of treatment response. In the patients, the Th0 profile (IFN-gamma, IL-10, TNF-alpha and TGF-beta), inducer of and protector against inflammation, predominated at T0, whereas the Th2 profile (IL-10, TNF-alpha and TGF-beta), protecting against the harmful pro-inflammatory effect of the remaining TNF-alpha, predominated at T6. The behavior of IFN-gamma (T0 > T3 > T6 = controls) suggests its use as a marker of treatment response.

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