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Clin Rheumatol. 2007 Aug;26(8):1332-4. Epub 2006 Nov 25.

Interleukin-18 as a mediator of systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis.

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Division of Paediatric Rheumatology, Department of Paediatrics, Zagreb University Hospital Centre, Salata 4, Zagreb, HR-10000, Croatia.


The objective of this report is to explore the balance between serum and synovial fluid levels of interleukin (IL)-18 in children with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA). Blood samples were obtained from 81 children with JIA and 18 control children. Synovial fluid samples were collected from 16 children with oligoarticular JIA. Concentrations of IL-18 were determined using commercial kit. Patients with systemic JIA had higher serum levels of IL-18 than patients with other forms of JIA or control children, both during the active (median, range: 6,240, 1,600-78,750 pg/ml) and inactive (1,615, 513-3,270 pg/ml) phase of disease [analysis of variance (ANOVA), P<0.05). Levels of IL-18 in sera of children with oligoarticular JIA (255, 89-4,342 pg/ml) were similar to the respective synovial fluid levels (217, 89-1,245 pg/ml). Serum levels of IL-18 were proportional to the erythrocyte sedimentation rate and levels of C-reactive protein, but inversely proportional to the haemoglobin levels. IL-18 appears to be an important mediator of systemic JIA, while it seems of a lesser relevance in pathogenesis of other JIA forms. Therefore, inhibition of IL-18 might be a base for a successful biological therapy for systemic JIA.

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