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J Neuroimmunol. 1999 Nov 15;101(2):211-21.

IL-10 levels in cerebrospinal fluid and serum of patients with severe traumatic brain injury: relationship to IL-6, TNF-alpha, TGF-beta1 and blood-brain barrier function.

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Department of Surgery, University Hospital Zurich, Switzerland.


Controlling the extent of inflammatory responses following brain injury may be beneficial since posttraumatic intracranial inflammation has been associated with adverse outcome. In order to elucidate the potential role of anti-inflammatory mediators, the production of interleukin-10 (IL-10) was monitored in paired cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and serum of 28 patients with severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) and compared to control samples. The pattern of IL-10 was analyzed with respect to the patterns of IL-6, tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) and transforming growth factor-beta1 (TGF-beta1) in both fluids during a time period of up to 22 days. In parallel, the function/dysfunction of the blood-brain barrier (BBB) was monitored using the CSF-/serum-albumin quotient (Q(A)) and compared to intrathecal cytokine levels. Mean IL-10 concentration in CSF was elevated in 26 out of 28 TBI patients (range: 1.3-41.7 pg/ml) compared to controls (cut-off: 1.06 pg/ml), whereas only seven patients had elevated mean IL-10 concentration in serum (range: 5.4-23 pg/ml; cut-off: 5.14 pg/ml). The time course of IL-10 was similar in both fluids, showing a peak during the first days and a second, lower rise in the second week. Intrathecal IL-10 synthesis is hypothesized since CSF-IL-10 levels exceeded serum-IL-10 levels in most of the patients, IL-10-index (CSF/serum-IL-10/QA) was elevated in 23 individuals, and elevation of CSF-IL-10 showed to be independent from severe BBB dysfunction. Neither CSF nor serum IL-10 values correlated with the dysfunction of the BBB. IL-10, IL-6 and TGF-beta1 showed similar patterns in CSF over time, whereas rises of TNF-alpha corresponded to declines of IL-10 levels. Our results suggest that IL-10 is predominantly induced intrathecally after severe TBI where it may downregulate inflammatory events following traumatic brain damage.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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