Total antioxidant levels are low during active TB and rise with anti-tuberculosis therapy

IUBMB Life. 2004 Feb;56(2):101-6. doi: 10.1080/15216540410001671259.


In tuberculosis, oxidative stress is a result of tissue inflammation, poor dietary intake of micronutrients due to illness, free radical burst from activated macrophages, and anti-tuberculosis drugs. These free radicals may in turn contribute towards pulmonary inflammation if not neutralized by antioxidants. The total antioxidant status (TAS) of individuals is a function of dietary, enzymatic, and other systemic antioxidants and is therefore an indicator of the free radical load. Our aim was to evaluate the TAS of healthy and M. tuberculosis-infected persons from a high TB incidence community, as well as tuberculosis patients at various stages of antituberculosis drug treatment and to correlate results with plasma micronutrient levels. Blood plasma samples from TB infected patients and following antituberculosis drug treatment were assayed for TAS, vitamins A, E and Zinc. Statistical analysis of results was by one-way ANOVA and the Tukey multiple comparison post test. Active TB patients showed a significantly lower TAS (P < 0.001) compared to the community controls. We also show that TAS values increase during therapy. Results correlated with micronutrients vitamin A and zinc but vitamin E remained unaffected. We suggest that total antioxidant status of TB patients should be considered for more effective disease control and that diets low in antioxidants may render individuals susceptible to tuberculosis.

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants / metabolism*
  • Antitubercular Agents / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects*
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / drug therapy
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / metabolism*


  • Antioxidants
  • Antitubercular Agents