Clinical correlates of interferon gamma production in patients with tuberculosis

Clin Infect Dis. 1997 Sep;25(3):617-20. doi: 10.1086/513769.


To determine if the capacity to produce interferon (IFN) gamma is related to the clinical manifestations of tuberculosis, we correlated Mycobacterium tuberculosis-induced IFN-gamma production by peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) with clinical, radiographic, and laboratory variables for 63 human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-negative patients and 43 HIV-positive patients with tuberculosis. For HIV-negative patients whose chest radiographs showed moderately advanced disease, the mean IFN-gamma concentration +/- SD was 1,639 +/- 388 pg/mL, whereas that for patients with far-advanced disease was 327 +/- 100 pg/mL (P = .0001). For HIV-infected patients who had only pleuropulmonary disease, the mean IFN-gamma concentration was 1,002 +/- 257 pg/mL, whereas that for patients with disease outside the lungs and pleura was 149 +/- 55 pg/mL (P = .0004). Multivariate analysis confirmed that the radiographic extent of disease and the site of disease were the only independent predictors of IFN-gamma production in HIV-negative and HIV-infected patients (P < or = .001). We conclude that reduced IFN-gamma production by PBMCs is a marker of severe tuberculosis in both HIV-negative and HIV-infected patients with tuberculosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • AIDS-Related Opportunistic Infections / complications
  • AIDS-Related Opportunistic Infections / immunology
  • Adult
  • Female
  • HIV Seronegativity / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immune Tolerance
  • Interferon-gamma / biosynthesis*
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / immunology
  • Male
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Tuberculosis, Pleural / complications
  • Tuberculosis, Pleural / immunology
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / complications
  • Tuberculosis, Pulmonary / immunology*


  • Interferon-gamma