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Assessment of gender differences in some inflammatory cytokines of tuberculosis patients before and during treatment

Chizoba Okeke
Robert Okonkwo
Nancy Ibeh
Oluchukwu Chukwuma
Chisom Okeke


Background: Gender variation is a feature of many physiological parameters including inflammatory cytokines. Inflammation is an obvious feature of Tuberculosis (TB) infection with changes in pro and anti-inflammatory cytokines.

Objective: To compare the levels of inflammatory cytokines between male and female TB patients before treatment, after 2-months and after 6-months anti-tuberculosis treatment.

Materials and methods: A total of 35 males and 25 females TB subjects were enlisted before initiation of therapy and followed up after 2-months and 6 months treatment and samples collected and analysed. Tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α), Interleukin 10 (IL-10, Interleukin -6 (IL-6), Interleukin-2 (IL-2), transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β) were assayed by ELISA method.

Results: Before treatment, the median level of IL-6 (pg/ml) was significantly higher in males compared to female TB patients (P=0.046). While after 2-months treatment, TNF-α (pg/ml) and IL-10 (pg/ml) was significantly higher in males compared with females (P=0.008 and 0.045 respectively). Conversely, the median IL-6 (pg/ml) was significantly higher in female TB patients compared to the males (P=0.042). No significant differences were observed after 6-months treatment.

Conclusion: Gender differences exist in IL-6 before treatment and in IL-6, TNF-α and IL-10 at two months treatment. Thus, TB treatment contributes differentially to levels of inflammatory cytokines in male and female TB patients.

Keywords: Tuberculosis; anti-tuberculosis drugs; cytokines; inflammation.

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1729-0503
print ISSN: 1680-6905