Determine whether markers of lipid metabolism, inflammation and/or liver function are altered in tuberculosis patients with diabetes

Reyna Citlally Miles, The University of Texas School of Public Health


The mechanism for higher susceptibility of diabetes patients to TB is unknown. Chronic hyperglycemia has been shown to be associated with altered immunity to Mycobacterium tuberculosis, and may explain the higher risk of TB among diabetes patients. However, it is possible that other conditions that frequently occur in these patients are also contributing to TB susceptibility. Our goal was to determine whether lipid metabolism, liver function and/or chronic inflammation are altered in tuberculosis (TB) patients with diabetes (DM), compared to non-DM. Confirmed TB patients who were 20 years or older (n=159) were selected from a database in the south Texas and northeast Mexico area. Differences between serum values for liver function, lipid metabolism and/or chronic inflammation were compared between TB patients with DM to non-DM. We found that CRP was the most frequent alteration, with about 80% having high values suggestive of chronic inflammation. The other frequent abnormalities were high triglycerides in about 40% of the patients and low HDL cholesterol in about 60% of the patients. Otherwise, less than 10% of the TB patients had an abnormal finding for any of the other laboratory tests. The abnormalities were not more frequent among the patients with either DM (versus non-DM) or high HbA1c (versus normal). A possible explanation for the high levels or CRP may be that everyone in the study had TB, which in itself causes inflammation and may have masked the increased CRP levels that characterize diabetes patients. There was a mild alteration in lipid metabolism in patients with DM, which is unlikely to explain altered immunity to TB. Otherwise, liver function tests were normal in patients with DM. Therefore the processing of anti-TB medications should be no different between the TB patients with and without diabetes. Our findings, however, do not rule out that other study populations have more remarkable metabolic alterations associated with diabetes. Therefore, it would be interesting to conduct a similar study in patients from different ethnic groups (White, African American, or Native American) in order to see if the same pattern is observed.

Subject Area

Public health|Epidemiology

Recommended Citation

Miles, Reyna Citlally, "Determine whether markers of lipid metabolism, inflammation and/or liver function are altered in tuberculosis patients with diabetes" (2010). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1475857.