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Free Content The sensitivity of interferon-gamma release assays is not compromised in tuberculosis patients with diabetes

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SETTING AND OBJECTIVES: The sensitivity of the interferon-gamma release assays (IGRAs) in the detection of Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection or disease may be affected by immune dysregulation in diabetes. As millions of type 2 diabetes patients are at risk for tuberculosis (TB) worldwide, it is important to determine if the sensitivity of IGRAs is compromised in this vulnerable population.

DESIGN: The sensitivity of the IGRAs QuantiFERON®-TB Gold (QFT-G) and T-SPOT®.TB was evaluated among specimens from newly diagnosed adults with microbiologically confirmed TB with and without diabetes. We also evaluated the association between QFT-G results and diabetes-associated conditions (dyslipidemia, obesity).

RESULTS: QFT-G sensitivity was 70% among TB patients. Patients with diabetes, chronic hyperglycemia or overweight/obesity were more than twice as likely to have positive test results in multivariate models (P < 0.05). Low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol or high triglycerides were not associated with assay results. In a separate group of TB patients (n = 43), T-SPOT.TB was 93% sensitive, with similar performance in patients with and without diabetes.

CONCLUSION: IGRA sensitivity is not compromised by diabetes in TB patients. Accordingly, IGRAs may also be suitable for diagnosing TB infection in diabetes patients, which is required to assess TB risk.

Keywords: IGRAs; QuantiFERON-TB Gold; T-SPOT.TB; diabetes; tuberculosis

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: 1: Division of Epidemiology, School of Public Health in Brownsville, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Brownsville, Texas, USA 2: Secretaria de Salud de Tamaulipas, Ciudad Victoria and Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico

Publication date: February 1, 2011

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  • The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease publishes articles on all aspects of lung health, including public health-related issues such as training programmes, cost-benefit analysis, legislation, epidemiology, intervention studies and health systems research. The IJTLD is dedicated to the continuing education of physicians and health personnel and the dissemination of information on tuberculosis and lung health world-wide.

    Certain IJTLD articles are selected for translation into French, Spanish, Chinese or Russian. They are available on the Union website

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