Cathelicidin as a link between sarcoidosis and tuberculosis

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Ercan Korucu
Leyla Pur Ozyigit
Mediha Gonenc Ortakoylu
Ayse Bahadir
Esma Seda Akalin
Asuman Kara
Hafize Uzun
Burak Onal
Emel Caglar


Vitamin D, innate immunity, granulomatous lung disease



Setting: Sarcoidosis and tuberculosis share notable clinical, radiological, histological, and immunological similarities. The importance of vitamin D has long been investigated in these two granulomatous lung diseases. Cathelicidin is an antimicrobial peptide of the innate immune system, directly induced by vitD3.

Objective: To evaluate the role of cathelicidin in sarcoidosis and tuberculosis development.

Design: The study included 30 consecutive patients with active lung tuberculosis, 30 patients with sarcoidosis, and 20 healthy controls. 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] and cathelicidin levels were measured in blood samples.

Results: Vitamin D levels were significantly higher (p<0.001) in tuberculosis patients (22.5±9.96 ng/ml) than in sarcoidosis patients (11.75±8.92 ng/ml). Severe vitamin D deficiency was as frequent as 47% in sarcoidosis patients compared to only 3% in tuberculosis patients. Cathelicidin levels were significantly higher in the control group (120.37±41.03 pg/ml) than in sarcoidosis (67.68±38.03 pg/ml) and tuberculosis (68.74 ±39.44 pg/ml) patients (p<0.001). However, no significant difference in cathelicidin levels was observed between tuberculosis and sarcoidosis patients (p=0.966). The optimum cathelicidin cut-off value to distinguish sarcoidosis patients from healthy controls was 107.14 pg/ml  (sensitivity 81.5%, specificity 71.2%).

Conclusion: Cathelicidin appears to play different roles in the development of granulomatous lung disease.




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