Malnutrition and tuberculosis: the gap between basic research and clinical trials
Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M.tb) is the causative agent of tuberculosis (TB), an infectious disease that leads to numerous deaths worldwide. Malnutrition, smoking, alcohol abuse, Human Immunodeficiency Virus infection, and diabetes are some of the most important risk factors associated with TB development. At present, it is necessary to conduct studies on risk factors to establish new effective strategies and combat this disease. Malnutrition has been established as a risk factor since several years ago; although there is in vitro experimental evidence that reveals the importance of micronutrients in activating the immune response against M.tb, evidence from clinical trials is controversial. Currently, nutritional assessment is recommended in all TB patients upon diagnosis. However, there is insufficient evidence to indicate micronutrient supplementation as adjuvant therapy or prophylactic to prevent micronutrient depletion. Strengthening the interaction between basic and clinical research is necessary to carry out studies that will help establish adjuvant therapies to improve outcomes in TB patients. In this review, we discuss the experimental evidence, provided by basic research, regarding micronutrients in the TB field. However, when these studies are applied to clinical trials, the data are inconsistent, indicating that still missing mechanisms are necessary to propose alternatives to the treatment of TB patients.
Copyright (c) 2021 Leslie Chavez-Galan, Norma A. Tellez-Navarrete, Lucero A. Ramon-Luing, Ivan Armando Osuna-Padilla, Marcela Muñoz-Torrico
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