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Free Content Household food insecurity is associated with low interferon-gamma levels in pregnant Indian women

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SETTING: Over 20% of tuberculosis (TB) cases during pregnancy occur in India.

OBJECTIVE: To determine the association between household food insecurity and interferon-gamma (IFN-γ) levels in pregnancy.

DESIGN: Pregnant women in India were administered the Household Food Insecurity Access Scale (HFIAS) questionnaire and underwent an IFN-γ release assay. Logistic regression was used to identify factors associated with food insecurity.

RESULTS: Of 538 women, 60 (11%) had household food insecurity, 47 (78%) of which were moderate or severe food insecure. After mitogen stimulation, moderate or severe food insecure women had a median IFN-γ concentration of 4.2 IU/ml (IQR 2.2–9.8) vs. 8.4 IU/ml (IQR 3.0–10) in women with no or mild food insecurity (P = 0.03). In multivariate analysis, higher IFN-γ concentrations were associated with human immunodeficiency virus infection (OR 1.3, 95%CI 0.51–2.1, P = 0.001), and inversely associated with moderate or severe food insecurity (OR −1.6, 95%CI −2.9 to −0.27, P = 0.02) and the number of adults in the household (OR −0.08, 95%CI −0.16 to −0.01, P = 0.03). There was no association between food insecurity and IFN-γ response to Mycobacterium tuberculosis antigen.

CONCLUSION: Food insecurity in pregnancy is associated with low IFN-γ levels. There was no association between food insecurity and IFN-γ response to M. tuberculosis antigen, but our study was underpowered to detect this outcome.
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Keywords: QGIT; TB antigen; interferon-gamma; mitogen

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: School of Medicine, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, New York, Emory University School of Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia, USA 2: Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Byramjee-Jeejeebhoy Government Medical College (BJGMC), Pune 3: BJGMC-Johns Hopkins Clinical Trials Unit, Pune, India 4: Department of Population Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, Department of Anthropology, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 5: BJGMC-Johns Hopkins Clinical Trials Unit, Pune, India, Division of Infectious Diseases, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland 6: Division of Infectious Diseases, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland 7: Center for Global Health, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, New York, USA

Publication date: 01 July 2017

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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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