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Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 1998 Jun;157(6 Pt 1):1764-9.

Circulating immunoreactive interleukin-6 in cystic fibrosis.

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Section of Respiratory Medicine, University of Wales College of Medicine, Academic Centre, Llandough Hospital NHS Trust, Penarth, South Glamorgan, United Kingdom.


We measured circulating and sputum-sol concentrations of interleukin-6 (IL-6), tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), neutrophil elastase-alpha1-antiproteinase complex (NEAPC), and C-reactive protein (CRP) in an exacerbation, after antibiotic treatment, and in clinically stable patients with cystic fibrosis and chronic pulmonary infection with Pseudomonas aeruginosa. The aim was to determine the compartmental patterns of a proinflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokine compared with other markers of inflammatory activity in cystic fibrosis. IL-6, NEAPC, CRP, and absolute neutrophil count were reduced after antibiotic treatment, p < 0.01. IL-6 and CRP concentrations were greater, p = 0.007, and p = 0.01, respectively, in a stable group of patients compared with those at the end of an exacerbation. IL-6 and CRP concentrations were related (r = 0.836, p < 0.0001), and both were greater than in matched control subjects (p < 0.001) at all times studied. Sputum-sol concentrations of IL-6 after treatment were positively related to FEV1 and FVC and inversely related to concentrations of neutrophil elastase. The separation between patients and healthy subjects, and the reduction of IL-6 after antibiotic treatment indicates it could be used as a marker of inflammation, but its relationship to other markers depends on the compartment in which it is measured.

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