Clinical Rheumatology

, Volume 38, Issue 2, pp 535–543 | Cite as

Active tuberculosis in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus from Southern China: a retrospective study

  • Minxi Lao
  • Dongying Chen
  • Xiangni Wu
  • Haihong Chen
  • Qian Qiu
  • Xiuyan Yang
  • Zhongping ZhanEmail author
Original Article


To investigate the characteristics and associated factors for Mycobacterium tuberculosis (TB) infection in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) from Southern China. A retrospective study of 1108 patients admitted to the First Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-Sen University from January 2007 to December 2017 was performed. Demographic and clinical characteristics, laboratory data, and radiographic manifestations were recorded. A total of 59 (5.3%) lupus patients with active TB were included. Pulmonary TB occurred in 41 (69.5%) patients. Single lobe involvement was showed in 14 (34.1%) patients. Multi-lobar involvement, including miliary TB (36.6%), was presented in 27 (65.8%) patients. Lower lobe involvement accounted for 31 (75.6%) of the cases. Extrapulmonary TB occurred in 18 (30.5%) patients. Nearly one-third (35.6%) of the patients developed disseminated TB. T-SPOT.TB assay was performed in 23 patients and positive in 18 patients (78.3%). Nineteen patients (32.2%) had co-infection with TB and other pathogens, most of which were bacterial-associated (52.6%). Lymphopenia was predominant in TB-infected patients, especially in those with disseminated TB. Multivariate logistic regression analysis found that lymphopenia [odds ratio (OR) = 2.19, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.03–4.63, P = 0.04] and the accumulated doses of glucocorticoid (GC) (OR = 2.32, 95% CI 1.69–3.20, P < 0.001) were associated with TB. TB infection is a common comorbidity in patients with SLE. Manifestations of pulmonary computed tomography (CT) scan are relatively atypical. Co-infection with TB and other pathogens is not rare. Lymphopenia and the accumulated doses of GC are associated with TB infection in lupus patients.


Co-infection Disseminated tuberculosis Lymphopenia Mycobacterium tuberculosis Systemic lupus erythematosus 



This project was supported by grants from the Guangdong Technology Project (2016A020215043) and grants from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (81603435, 81601403).

Compliance with ethical standards

Ethics committee of the First Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University approved the research. This work was conducted according to the provisions of the Declaration of Helsinki.




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Copyright information

© International League of Associations for Rheumatology (ILAR) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Rheumatologythe First Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-sen UniversityGuangzhouChina
  2. 2.Department of GeriatricsThe First Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-sen UniversityGuangzhouChina
  3. 3.Department of RheumatologyBeijing Jishuitan HospitalBeijingChina
  4. 4.Department of RespirologyThe First Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-sen UniversityGuangzhouChina

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