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Free Content Cathelicidin and human β-defensin 2 in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid of children with pulmonary tuberculosis

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The antimicrobial peptide cathelicidin LL-37/hCAP-18 and human β-defensins (hBD) are key factors in innate immune responses of the respiratory tract.


To determine LL-37 and hBD-2 concentrations in the bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid of paediatric patients (aged <16 years) with pulmonary tuberculosis (TB) and to compare these with concentrations in healthy children.


We measured peptide concentrations using an immunosorbent assay (ELISA).


Forty TB patients and 40 healthy controls were enrolled in the study (mean age 9.2 ± 4.7 and 8.3 ± 4.2 years, respectively, P = 0.97). The two groups exhibited no statistically significant difference in terms of sex, body mass index, relative weight or 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels. The mean BAL LL-37 level of the TB group was significantly higher than that of the control group (0.95 ± standard deviation [SD] 1.33 vs. 0.35 ± SD 0.51 ng/ml, P = 0.01, t = 2.54). The hBD-2 level was also higher in the TB group; however, the difference was not statistically significant (0.30 ± SD 0.58 vs. 0.14 ± SD 0.30 ng/ml, P = 0.11). There was no correlation between LL-37, hBD-2 and 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels.


Our data suggest that LL-37 and hBD-2 may play an important role in TB pathogenesis in children. To our knowledge, this is the first study on BAL LL-37 and hBD-2 concentrations in children with pulmonary TB.
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Keywords: antimicrobial peptide; cathelicidin; child; defensin; tuberculosis

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Paediatric Pulmonology, Bezmialem Vakif University Medical Faculty, Istanbul, Turkey 2: Department of Paediatrics, Bezmialem Vakif University Medical Faculty, Istanbul, Turkey 3: Department of Anaesthesiology, Bezmialem Vakif University Medical Faculty, Istanbul, Turkey 4: Department of Immunology, Institute of Experimental Medicine, Istanbul University, Istanbul, Turkey

Publication date: June 1, 2014

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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 lung health world-wide.

    To share scientific research of immediate concern as rapidly as possible, The Union is fast-tracking the publication of certain articles from the IJTLD and publishing them on The Union website, prior to their publication in the Journal. Read fast-track articles.

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

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