Intensive Care Medicine

, Volume 21, Supplement 2, pp S258–S263 | Cite as

Time course of cytokine levels in sepsis

  • L. G. Thijs
  • C. E. Hack


In severe sepsis, a network of proinflammatory cytokines (TNF, IL-lß, IL-6, IL-8) is activated and blood levels of these cytokines are elevated, albeit inconsistently and with large individual variations. In addition, elevated blood levels of anti-inflammatory cytokines (IL-10), as well as of soluble cytokine receptors (sTNF-RI and II, IL-lra), have been found. They seem to have a regulatory function in the host response. Levels of TNF and IL-6 are usually highest at the time of admission, whereas the time course of IL-lß levels (when detectable) can vary considerably. Limited data on IL-8 levels suggest that they may remain elevated for longer periods. Elevated levels of sTNFR and IL-lra may also persist for a prolonged period of time. The pathogenetic significance of these observations is still unclear, but persistingly high levels of proinflammatory cytokines may be associated with organ failure and mortality.

Key words

Cytokines Sepsis Mediators 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • L. G. Thijs
    • 1
  • C. E. Hack
    • 2
  1. 1.Medical Intensive Care Unit and Institute for Cardiovascular Research (ICaR-VU)Free University HospitalAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Central Laboratory of the Netherlands Red Cross Blood Transfusion ServiceAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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