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Effects of ascent to high altitude on human antimycobacterial immunity

Eisen, Sarah; Pealing, Louise; Aldridge, Robert W; Siedner, Mark J; Necochea, Alejandro; Leybell, Inna; Valencia, Teresa; Herrera, Beatriz; Wiles, Siouxsie; Friedland, Jon S; Gilman, Robert H; Evans, Carlton A
BACKGROUND: Tuberculosis infection, disease and mortality are all less common at high than low altitude and ascent to high altitude was historically recommended for treatment. The immunological and mycobacterial mechanisms underlying the association between altitude and tuberculosis are unclear. We studied the effects of altitude on mycobacteria and antimycobacterial immunity. METHODS: Antimycobacterial immunity was assayed in 15 healthy adults residing at low altitude before and after they ascended to 3400 meters; and in 47 long-term high-altitude residents. Antimycobacterial immunity was assessed as the extent to which participants' whole blood supported or restricted growth of genetically modified luminescent Bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG) mycobacteria during 96 hours incubation. We developed a simplified whole blood assay that could be used by a technician in a low-technology setting. We used this to compare mycobacterial growth in participants' whole blood versus positive-control culture broth and versus negative-control plasma. RESULTS: Measurements of mycobacterial luminescence predicted the number of mycobacterial colonies cultured six weeks later. At low altitude, mycobacteria grew in blood at similar rates to positive-control culture broth whereas ascent to high altitude was associated with restriction (p
PMID: 24058530
ISSN: 1932-6203
CID: 914732

Comment on "Effect of anticholinergic drugs on the efficacy of activated charcoal" [Letter]

Ginsburg, Beth Y; Leybell, Inna; Hoffman, Robert S
PMID: 16035212
ISSN: 1556-3650
CID: 64537