Early deaths during tuberculosis treatment are associated with depressed innate responses, bacterial infection, and tuberculosis progression

J Infect Dis. 2011 Aug 1;204(3):358-62. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jir265.


Up to 14% of Malawian adults die during the intensive phase of tuberculosis treatment. In a prospective cohort of 199 Malawian adults with microbiologically confirmed pulmonary tuberculosis, clinical and laboratory parameters were compared between those who died or deteriorated with those who had an uneventful recovery. Baseline tumor necrosis factor alpha responses to stimulation with heat-killed Mycobacterium tuberculosis and lipopolysaccharide were reduced among the 22 patients with poor outcome (P = .017). Low body mass index (P = .002) and elevated respiratory rate (P = .01) at tuberculosis diagnosis independently predicted poor outcome. Validation of a clinical score identifying high-risk individuals is warranted, together with further investigation of immunological derangements.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cytokines / blood
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Respiratory Rate
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / drug therapy
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / immunology*
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / mortality
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / biosynthesis


  • Cytokines
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha