Granulysin and interferon-gamma (IFN-γ) have broad antimicrobial activity which controls Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M. tuberculosis) infection. Circulating granulysin and IFN-γ concentrations were measured and correlated with clinical disease in Thai patients with newly diagnosed, relapsed and chronic tuberculosis (TB). Compared to controls, patients with newly diagnosed, relapsed and chronic TB had lower circulating granulysin concentrations, these differences being significant only in newly diagnosed and relapsed TB (P < 0.001 and 0.004, respectively). Granulysin concentrations in patients with newly diagnosed and relapsed TB were significantly lower than in those with chronic TB (P= 0.003 and P= 0.022, respectively). In contrast, significantly higher circulating IFN-γ concentrations were found in patients with newly diagnosed and relapsed TB compared to controls (P < 0.001). The IFN-γ concentrations in newly diagnosed and relapsed patients were not significantly different from those of patients with chronic TB. However, in vitro stimulation of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from patients with newly diagnosed, relapsed and chronic TB with purified protein derivative (PPD) or heat killed M. tuberculosis (H37Ra) enhanced production of granulysin by PBMCs. In vitro, stimulation of PBMCs of newly diagnosed TB patients with PPD produced greater amounts of IFN-γ than did controls, while those stimulated with H37Ra did not. The results demonstrate that patients with active pulmonary TB have low circulating granulysin but high IFN-γ concentrations, suggesting possible roles in host defense against M. tuberculosis for these agents.
© 2011 The Societies and Blackwell Publishing Asia Pty Ltd.