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Clinical implications of interleukin-18 levels in pediatric patients with Mycoplasma pneumoniae pneumonia


The immunological pathogenesis of Mycoplasma pneumoniae pneumonia is known to involve several cytokines. The serum levels of interleukin-18 (IL-18) were examined using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay in 23 pediatric patients (median age 6 years; range 4–13 years; 14 girls and 9 boys) with M. pneumoniae pneumonia admitted to our hospital. Serum levels of IL-18 ranged from 22 to 1808 pg/ml with a mean of 543 pg/ml. We started steroid therapy in two cases with IL-18 values greater than 1000 pg/ml without being aware of IL-18 levels. Examination of associations between IL-18 levels determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and a routine laboratory test showed that levels of lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) and IL-18 were significantly correlated. To determine the appropriateness of steroid administration in M. pneumoniae pneumonia patients, serum LDH should be examined. Patients with elevated levels of LDH are likely to have significantly elevated IL-18 values (≥1000 pg/ml) and thus can be candidates for steroid therapy.

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Correspondence to Tomohiro Oishi.

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Oishi, T., Narita, M., Matsui, K. et al. Clinical implications of interleukin-18 levels in pediatric patients with Mycoplasma pneumoniae pneumonia. J Infect Chemother 17, 803–806 (2011).

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  • Interleukin-18 (IL-18)
  • Lactate dehydrogenase (LDH)
  • Mycoplasma pneumoniae
  • Child
  • Pneumonia