Background: Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is a mediator with potent angiogenic, mitogenic, and vascular permeability-enhancing activities that are specific for endothelial cells. Intense angiogenesis has been found in active pulmonary tuberculosis lesions.
Objectives: To determine whether active pulmonary tuberculosis is associated with increased serum levels of VEGF compared with inactive tuberculosis and VEGF levels in healthy subjects, and to assess the changes in serum VEGF levels before and after therapy.
Design: Prospective clinical study.
Setting: Chest clinic of a university hospital, Eskisehir, Turkey.
Patients and measurements: Serum VEGF levels of 44 patients with active pulmonary tuberculosis, 24 patients with inactive pulmonary tuberculosis, and 20 healthy subjects were determined.
Results: VEGF levels were increased in active pulmonary tuberculosis patients (mean [± SD] VEGF level, 598.03 ± 298.25 pg/mL) compared to both inactive pulmonary tuberculosis patients (mean VEGF level, 296.98 ± 115.31 pg/mL) and control subjects (mean VEGF level, 339.67 ± 74.65 pg/mL). The increase in VEGF level observed in patients with active tuberculosis was statistically significant when compared with levels in two other groups (p < 0.001 for both). Serum VEGF levels were statistically different before treatment and after treatment in 10 patients who were observed from diagnosis to the end of treatment (p < 0.01).
Conclusions: Increased serum VEGF levels may be an indicator of active pulmonary tuberculosis, since levels were higher in patients with active pulmonary tuberculosis and were lower after successful treatment. The role of VEGF-mediated angiogenesis in the pathogenesis and progression of pulmonary tuberculosis lesions should be further elucidated.