Association of plasma cytokines with radiological recovery in pulmonary tuberculosis patients

Najeeha Talat Iqbal, Aga Khan University
Rabia Hussain, Aga Khan University
Firdaus Shahid, Aga Khan University
Ghaffar Dawood


Background: The characterization of tuberculosis (TB) patients as slow or fast responders post anti-TB treatment has always been a matter of tremendous interest as slow responders are most likely to relapse and/or develop complications. Pulmonary tissue healing as assessed with radiology is the only available tool for tissue recovery but is not predictive at intake. The objective of the current study was to assess biomarkers associated with fast and slow recovery in TB patients at recruitment.Methods: Pulmonary TB patients (N=15) were assessed for radiological recovery serially in parallel with clinical signs and symptoms, hematological parameters, and plasma cytokines at 0months, 6months, 12months, and 24months. On the basis of differential radiological healing, patients were characterized into slow (>12months), intermediate (<12months), and fast (<6months) responders.Results: Baseline plasma cytokines (interleukin [IL]-2, -4, -6, -10, tumor necrosis factor-alpha, and interferon-gamma) were determined using cytometric bead array. IL-2 and -4 were able to accurately differentiate slow and fast responders into two distinct clusters using hierarchal clustering analysis. Compared with fast responders, slow responders showed significantly high IL-2 and -4 at baseline (p=.001 Mann-Whitney U test).CONCLUSION: In-depth analysis of cytokines and its association with radiological recovery in TB patients may be useful in monitoring TB patients postchemotherapy for both clinicians and TB control program.