Reduced systemic and mycobacterial antigen-stimulated concentrations of IL-1β and IL-18 in tuberculous lymphadenitis

Cytokine. 2017 Feb:90:66-72. doi: 10.1016/j.cyto.2016.10.013. Epub 2016 Oct 26.


Background: Type 1, Type 17 and other pro-inflammatory cytokines are known to play an important role in resistance to pulmonary tuberculosis. The role of these cytokines in tuberculous lymphadenitis (TBL) is not well characterized.

Methods: To estimate the systemic and mycobacterial antigen - stimulated cytokine concentrations of Type 1, Type 17, other pro-inflammatory and regulatory cytokines in TBL, we examined both the systemic and the antigen-specific concentrations of these cytokines in TBL (n=31) before and after chemotherapy, and compared them with those with latent tuberculosis infection (LTB, n=31).

Results: We observed significantly reduced systemic concentrations of the pro-inflammatory cytokines - IL-1β and IL-18 but not other Type 1 or Type 17 cytokines in TBL compared to LTB. Following standard anti-tuberculosis (TB) treatment, we observed a significant increase in the concentrations of both IL-1β and IL-18. In addition, we also observed significantly reduced baseline or mycobacterial - antigen or mitogen stimulated concentrations of IL-1β and IL-18 in TBL individuals. Similar to systemic cytokine concentrations, anti-TB treatment resulted in significantly increased concentrations of these cytokines following antigen stimulation.

Conclusions: TBL is therefore, characterized by reduced systemic and antigen-specific concentrations of IL-1β and IL-18, which are reversible following anti-TB treatment, indicating that these cytokines are potential correlates of protective immunity in TBL.

Keywords: Cytokines; Lymphadenitis; Tuberculosis.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antigens, Bacterial / immunology
  • Antigens, Bacterial / pharmacology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-18 / immunology*
  • Interleukin-1beta / immunology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / immunology*
  • Th1 Cells / immunology*
  • Th1 Cells / pathology
  • Th17 Cells / immunology*
  • Tuberculosis, Lymph Node / immunology*
  • Tuberculosis, Lymph Node / pathology


  • Antigens, Bacterial
  • IL1B protein, human
  • Interleukin-18
  • Interleukin-1beta