Chitotriosidase activity in the serum of patients with sarcoidosis and pulmonary tuberculosis.Respiration. 2007; 74(5):548-52.R
Human chitotriosidase is a chitinase selectively expressed by activated macrophages. An increase in chitotriosidase activity was previously described by us in the serum and bronchoalveolar lavage of sarcoidosis patients.
The aim of the present study was to analyze serum chitotriosidase activity in a larger number of sarcoidosis patients to verify the reported increase with respect to controls and to compare serum chitotriosidase levels in patients with sarcoidosis and tuberculosis, two granulomatous disorders of different etiology.
Chitotriosidase activity was measured in the serum of 96 sarcoidosis patients, 15 pulmonary tuberculosis patients and 30 healthy controls.
We found significantly higher serum chitotriosidase activity in sarcoidosis patients than controls (p < 0.01) and in sarcoidosis patients than tuberculosis patients (p < 0.01), confirming a striking elevation of chitotriosidase activity (>10 times greater than normal) in pulmonary sarcoidosis patients. This is the first time that chitotriosidase activity has been analyzed in the serum of patients with pulmonary tuberculosis; it was found to be significantly lower than in sarcoidosis patients and not significantly greater than in controls.
Although the mechanisms leading to the increase in chitotriosidase activity in sarcoidosis are still unknown, this enzyme may be specifically involved in the pathogenesis of the disease. Further studies with a greater number of patients are needed to confirm these results and to determine whether chitotriosidase could be a marker with diagnostic or prognostic value in sarcoidosis.