To compare sputum cellularity between HIV-positive and -negative individuals with pulmonary tuberculosis. A cross-sectional study was conducted in patients with pulmonary tuberculosis. Sputum samples were collected and processed within two hours after collection. The absolute number of squamous cells of a total of 400 cells was counted, as well as the absolute number (× 106 cells/ml) and percentage of eosinophils, lymphocytes, macrophages and neutrophils and total cellularity and viability were determined. Comparisons of the means of each cell type were held in a significance level of 95% (p < 0.05). Pearson’s correlation coefficient between the identified cell types was calculated. Results: Assessment was performed in a cohort of 40 subjects, mean age 40 years, 77.5% male, 70% Caucasian, 40% HIV-positive (mean age 35.9 years). Mean percentage viability in the samples was 56.1%. The average value of squamous cells was 58.8. Mean percentages of cells were: 33.7% neutrophils, 1.7% eosinophils, 50.7%, macrophages and 12.3% lymphocytes. The average total cell count was 1.9 x 106cells/ml. The average CD4+ T-cell count in HIV-positive was 95.4 cells/mm3. Association of radiological patterns was present in 72.5% of cases. Pearson’s correlation coefficient was 0.08 (p < 0.01) between absolute counts of eosinophils and lymphocytes, eosinophils and macrophages and macrophages and neutrophils. Inverse relationship was observed between the percentage of macrophages and neutrophils. There was no statistically significant difference between cell count of HIV-positive and -negative individuals.
Key words: Sputum, tuberculosis, HIV.
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