Identification of Intrinsic Airway Acidification in Pulmonary Tuberculosis

  •  Lina Ngamtrakulpanit    
  •  Yuanlin Yu    
  •  Andrew Adjei    
  •  George Amoah    
  •  Ben Gaston    
  •  John Hunt    


Exhaled breath condensate acidification reflects the presence of airway acidification. Mycobacterium
tuberculosis is an organism particularly sensitive to acidity. We aimed to determine if there is evidence of airway
acidification in a cross section of patients with active tuberculosis.
We enrolled 51 subjects with active tuberculosis in Ghana and Thailand, and compared them to control subjects.
We collected exhaled breath condensate, and assayed for pH after gas standardization.
Exhaled breath condensate pH from the control group revealed a median of 7.9 (7.7 - 8.0, n = 21), significantly
higher than the active pulmonary tuberculosis patients who had a median pH of 7.4 (7.0 – 7.7; n = 51; p=0.002).
Presence or absence of antibiotic therapy did not affect EBC pH values.
These exhaled breath condensate data support the theory that airways become acidic in active tuberculosis
infection. This may be a mechanism of immune response and pathology not previously considered.

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