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J Immunol Methods. 1992 Aug 30;153(1-2):125-31.

Influence of collection and separation of blood samples on plasma IL-1, IL-6 and TNF-alpha concentrations.

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Department of Immunology, Charing Cross and Westminster Medical School, Westminster Hospital, London, UK.


The anticoagulant used for the collection of blood was found to influence in vitro cytokine production in whole blood. Lithium heparin in certain collection tubes was found to contain endotoxin and induced cytokine synthesis in a time-dependent manner whereas endotoxin-free lithium heparin did not. No induction of cytokine occurred in the presence of EDTA which was also able to inhibit endotoxin-induced cytokine synthesis. Synthesis or absence of cytokine correlated with the induction of messenger RNA. Investigation of the kinetics of cytokine induction in whole blood revealed that tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNF) was detectable after 2 h of incubation at 37 degrees C and interleukin-1 beta (IL-1 beta) and interleukin-6 (IL-6) after 3 h. In certain samples IL-1 and IL-6 were detectable in plasma separated immediately from blood collected into endotoxin-free lithium heparin, presumably reflecting in vivo synthesis, and similar concentrations were detected after 3 h of incubation of whole blood at 37 degrees C. These data indicate that as long as blood is collected into endotoxin-free anticoagulant then cytokine measurements will reflect the in vivo status.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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