South African Medical Journal

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Sluggish glucose tolerance in tuberculosis patients

L Bell, V Bhat, G George, A A Awotedu, B Gqaza


Objective. To examine glucose tolerance in sputum-positive
non-treated pulmonary tuberculosis (TB) patients as part of a
general metabolic profile.
Subjects. Sixty-three sputum-positive non-treated patients (male
and female) attending the pulmonary clinic at Mthatha General
Hospital in the Eastern Cape and 89 apparently healthy sexand
age-matched volunteers.
Methods. Sixty-three untreated TB patients who came to the
Mthatha General Hospital's pulmonary clinic with classic
symptoms of TB, confirmed by sputum analysis, were
recruited for the study. Eighty-nine apparently healthy sexand
age-matched volunteers served as the control group.
Anthropometric measurements were taken using an electronic
scale. Standard oral glucose tolerance tests (OGTTs) were
performed in both groups in the morning after an overnight
fast. Anticoagulant-treated blood was analysed for glucose
and insulin using Peridochrome Glucose (Boehringer
Mannheim, Mannheim, Germany) and radioimmunoassay
(RIA) (Diagnostic Products Corporation, Los Angeles, USA)
Results. There was sluggish response to glucose and insulin
in the TB patient group compared with the control group.
Glucose and insulin levels were significantly higher in patients
at 0, 30, 60, 120, and 180 minutes. Analysis of variance gave the
following p-values, viz. p = 0.0000, 0.0004, 0.0000, 0.0000 and
0.0000 for glucose, and p = 0.0317, 0.0071, 0.0000, 0.0005 and
0.0000 for insulin respectively.
Conclusions. The results of this study suggest an altered
glucose/insulin metabolism in TB patients. This might play an
important role in the clinical course of the disease.

South African Medical Journal Vol. 97 (5) 2007: pp. 374-377

AJOL African Journals Online