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Year : 2011  |  Volume : 21  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 68

Chronic kidney disease, immunosuppression and tuberculin test sensitivity

Department of Pediatrics, Lokmanya Tilak Municipal General Hospital, Mumbai, India

Date of Web Publication25-Mar-2011

Correspondence Address:
S A Zaki
Room No. 509, New RMO Quarters, Sion, Mumbai - 400 022
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0971-4065.78088

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How to cite this article:
Zaki S A. Chronic kidney disease, immunosuppression and tuberculin test sensitivity. Indian J Nephrol 2011;21:68

How to cite this URL:
Zaki S A. Chronic kidney disease, immunosuppression and tuberculin test sensitivity. Indian J Nephrol [serial online] 2011 [cited 2023 Feb 5];21:68. Available from:


I read with interest the recent report on "Tuberculin skin test for the diagnosis of latent tuberculosis during renal replacement therapy in an endemic area: A single center study" by Agarwal et al., [1] and have the following comments to offer.

Host resistance to infection is primarily mediated by cellular immunity which is deficient in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD). The occurrence of infections including tuberculosis (TB) is therefore high in such patients. In addition, various studies have reported the incidence of TB in patients with CKD and on maintenance hemodialysis to be 6-16 times that of general populations. [1],[2] Impaired cellular immunity suppresses the mitogenic response of lymphocytes. Protein malnutrition, zinc and pyridoxine deficiency, and defects in leukocyte function following exposure to dialysis membranes increase the susceptibility of dialysis patients to TB. [2] Reaction size limits for determining a positive tuberculin test result vary with the individual's risk of infection. Those with highest risk of having infection progress to disease - either having diseases associated with immunosuppression or on immunosuppressive therapy - a reactive area ≥ 5 mm is classified as positive result. [3] The authors have considered induration of 10 mm or more as positive for the diagnosis of latent TB (LTB) in their study. I feel that if the cut-off for tuberculin positivity was taken as 5 mm, the number of cases diagnosed as LTB would have definitely increased.

  References Top

1.Malhotra KK. Treatment of tuberculosis in chronic renal failure, maintenance dialysis and renal transplant. Indian J Nephrol 2003;13:69-71.  Back to cited text no. 1
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2.Malik GH, Al-Mohaya SA, Al-Harbi AS, Kechrid M, Azhari O, Shetia S, et al. Spectrum of tuberculosis in dialysis patients in Saudi Arabia. Saudi J Kidney Dis Transpl 2003;14:145-52.  Back to cited text no. 2
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3.Munoz FM, Starke JR. Tuberculosis (Mycobacterium tuberculosis). In: Behrman RE, Kliegman RM, Jenson HB, Stanton FB, editors. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 17th ed. Philadelphia: WB Saunders; 2008. p.958-78.  Back to cited text no. 3

This article has been cited by
1 Reaction size in tuberculin test positivity in hemodialysis patients - Authorsę reply
Agarwal, S.K., Gupta, S., Bhowmik, D., Mahajan, S.
Indian Journal of Nephrology. 2011; 21(2): 139-140


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