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Blood. 2005 Nov 15;106(10):3483-9. Epub 2005 Jul 14.

Severe imbalance of IL-18/IL-18BP in patients with secondary hemophagocytic syndrome.

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  • 1Service de Médecine Interne, Hôpital de la Conception, Marseille, France.

Abstract

Hemophagocytic syndrome (HPS) is characterized by an uncontrolled and poorly understood activation of T-helper 1 (Th-1) lymphocytes and macrophages. We studied 20 patients with HPS secondary to infections, autoimmune disease, lymphoma, or cancer and observed that the concentrations of serum interleukin 18 (IL-18), a strong inducer of Th-1 responses, interferon gamma (IFN-gamma) production, and stimulation of macrophages and natural killer (NK) cells were highly increased in HPS but not in control patients. In contrast, concentrations of its natural inhibitor, the IL-18 binding protein (IL-18BP), were only moderately elevated, resulting in a high level of biologically active free IL-18 in HPS (4.6-fold increase compared with controls; P < .001). Free IL-18 but not IL-12 concentrations significantly correlated with clinical status and the biologic markers of HPS such as anemia (P < .001), hypertriglyceridemia, and hyperferritinemia (P < .01) and also with markers of Th-1 lymphocyte or macrophage activation, such as elevated concentrations of IFN-gamma and soluble IL-2 and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) receptor concentrations. Despite high IL-18 elevation, in vitro NK-cell cytotoxicity was severely impaired in HPS patients, in part due to NK-cell lymphopenia that was observed in a majority of patients but also secondary to an intrinsic NK-cell functional deficiency. We concluded that a severe IL-18/IL-18BP imbalance results in Th-1 lymphocyte and macrophage activation, which escapes control by NK-cell cytotoxicity and may allow for secondary HPS in patients with underlying diseases.

PMID:
16020503
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC1895045
Free PMC Article

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