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Mediators Inflamm. 1998;7(5):309-12.

Inflammatory cytokines in newborn infants.

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2nd Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Areteion University Hospital, Athens, Greece.


Serum levels of IL-1beta, IL-6 and TNF-alpha were measured in 48 healthy, termed neonates on the 1st (N1), 5th (N5) and 40th (N40) day after birth, compared with those in maternal serum (MS), umbilical cord (UC) and adult controls. Cytokine values in N1 and N5 were significantly elevated, than those in UC and in controls (P<0.0001). IL-1beta and IL-6 declined significantly from N1 to N40 (P<0.0001), while TNF-alpha increased significantly from N1 to N5 and declined thereafter. MS infinity IL-1beta and IL-6, but not MS infinity TNF-alpha, were significantly higher than those of controls (P<0.0001). IL-1beta values depended on the mode of delivery. In conclusion, the increased concentrations of IL-1beta, IL-6 and TNF-alpha during the perinatal period might suggest their involvement in an inflammation-like process during normal parturition, and reflect also a newborn immune response to the stress of delivery and environmental changes.

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