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J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 2012 Oct;32(10):1888-96. doi: 10.1038/jcbfm.2012.83. Epub 2012 Jul 18.

Serum cytokines in a clinical trial of hypothermia for neonatal hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy.

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Department of Pediatrics, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina 29425, USA.


Inflammatory cytokines may mediate hypoxic-ischemic (HI) injury and offer insights into the severity of injury and the timing of recovery. In our randomized, multicenter trial of hypothermia, we analyzed the temporal relationship of serum cytokine levels in neonates with hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) with neurodevelopmental outcome at 12 months. Serum cytokines were measured every 12 hours for 4 days in 28 hypothermic (H) and 22 normothermic (N) neonates with HIE. Monocyte chemotactic protein-1 (MCP-1) and interleukins (IL)-6, IL-8, and IL-10 were significantly higher in the H group. Elevated IL-6 and MCP-1 within 9 hours after birth and low macrophage inflammatory protein 1a (MIP-1a) at 60 to 70 hours of age were associated with death or severely abnormal neurodevelopment at 12 months of age. However, IL-6, IL-8, and MCP-1 showed a biphasic pattern in the H group, with early and delayed peaks. In H neonates with better outcomes, uniform down modulation of IL-6, IL-8, and IL-10 from their peak levels at 24 hours to their nadir at 36 hours was observed. Modulation of serum cytokines after HI injury may be another mechanism of improved outcomes in neonates treated with induced hypothermia.

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