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Ciba Found Symp. 1992;167:205-20; discussion 220-3.

Interleukin 6 determination in the detection of microbial invasion of the amniotic cavity.

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06510.


A growing body of evidence suggests a role for cytokines in the mechanisms responsible for preterm parturition associated with intrauterine infection. Interleukin 6, a polyfunctional cytokine that is secreted by tissues in the feto-maternal interface in response to microbial products, has been implicated in the host response to intrauterine infection. The purpose of this study was to establish whether measurement of amniotic fluid concentrations of interleukin 6 could be of value in the diagnosis of microbial invasion of the amniotic cavity. Fluid was obtained by transabdominal amniocentesis from patients with preterm labour and intact chorioamniotic membranes and cultured for aerobic and anaerobic bacteria and mycoplasmas. Interleukin 6 concentrations were determined by an ELISA validated for human amniotic fluid. An interleukin 6 concentration above 11.2 ng/ml had a 93.7% sensitivity and a 92.3% specificity in the diagnosis of intra-amniotic infection. Moreover, patients with an amniotic fluid interleukin 6 level above 11.2 ng/ml and a negative amniotic fluid culture failed to respond to tocolysis, delivered a preterm infant and showed histological evidence of chorioamnionitis, and their neonates were at risk for congenital infections.

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