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Chitotriosidase Activity in Pleural Effusions by Lorena Bouzas, Esther San José, J. Carlos Tutor

Chitotriosidase (ChT) is mainly secreted by monocyte-derived macrophages, and is considered a useful marker of macrophage activation. Macrophages represent the first line of defence against Mycobacterium tuberculosis, and consequently the study of ChT activity in pleural effusions (PE) would be of clinical value in the laboratory characterization of tuberculous pleurisy. ChT and adenosine deaminase (ADA) activities were determined in 12 tuberculous PE, 26 non-tuberculous lymphocytic PE and 25 neutrophilic PE. The enzyme heterogeneity study for ChT was made by thermal inactivation at 60oC according to Wajner et al. (Clin Biochem 2004;37:893). ChT activity was significantly higher in the group of tuberculous PE than in the non-tuberculous lymphocytic PE group (p<0.01), although no significant difference was found with respect to neutrophilic PE. The correlation between ChT and ADA was statistically significant, although in the partial correlation keeping the protein concentration constant, statistical significance was only achieved in tuberculous and non-tuberculous lymphocytic PE (r=0.358, p<0.05). In lymphocytic PE, a ChT activity greater than 40 mmol/h/mL has a sensitivity of 92%, specificity of 72%, and efficiency of 78% for the biochemical characterization of tuberculous pleurisy. Residual activities obtained for ChT by heat inactivation did not make it possible to differentiate the enzyme isoforms in PE presumably secreted by macrophages and polymorphonuclear leukocytes.

DOI: Clin. Lab. 2007;53:449-452