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Hum Reprod. 2002 Jan;17(1):69-75.

IL-1, IL-6 and TNF-alpha concentrations in the peritoneal fluid of women with pelvic adhesions.

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  • 1The Jessop Wing, Central Sheffield University Hospitals, Tree Root Walk, Sheffield, S10 2PS, UK.



Pelvic adhesions are a significant cause of morbidity and are associated with infertility and pain. The three pro-inflammatory cytokines interleukin (IL)-1, IL-6 and tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha are involved in adhesion formation/reformation.


The concentration of these three cytokines was examined in the peritoneal fluid of women undergoing laparoscopy, in order to examine the factors affecting their concentrations, with specific reference to the presence or absence of adhesions.


We found that the concentration of TNF-alpha in the peritoneal fluid was significantly correlated to the menstrual cycle day (P < 0.01), with increasing concentration as the menstrual cycle progressed from the follicular to the luteal phase. In contrast, IL-1 and IL-6 levels did not show any variation throughout the menstrual cycle. Increased TNF-alpha was found in patients with pelvic adhesions compared with those with normal pelvis; the concentration of TNF-alpha was highest in mild compared with severe adhesions. In contrast, IL-1 concentration was higher in the presence of severe adhesions. IL-6 levels were significantly correlated with the grade of endometriosis (P < 0.05), but there were no significant correlations of either TNF-alpha or IL-1 concentrations with the various grades of endometriosis.


The exact role of TNF-alpha and IL-1 in adhesion formation is still unknown, but the results from this study suggest that their concentration in the peritoneal fluid is associated with the degree of adhesions present.

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