Journal of Clinical Immunology

, Volume 22, Issue 6, pp 331–337

Plasma Levels of Interleukin-18 and Interleukin-18 Binding Protein Are Elevated in Patients with Chronic Liver Disease

  • Othmar Ludwiczek
  • Arthur Kaser
  • Daniela Novick
  • Charles A. Dinarello
  • Menachem Rubinstein
  • Wolfgang Vogel
  • Herbert Tilg


Interleukin 18 (IL-18) is a recently described proinflammatory cytokine. In mouse models it has been shown to play a key role in the development of liver injury. IL-18 binding protein (IL-18BP) is a naturally occurring antagonist of IL-18. In this study we investigated whether IL-18/IL-18BP levels are altered in patients with chronic liver disease (CLD). We measured IL-18 and IL-18BP plasma levels in 153 patients with CLD and 41 healthy controls by a specific ELISA. Plasma levels of IL-18 were significantly higher in CLD patients than in healthy controls. Cirrhotics had higher levels than noncirrhotics. IL-18 levels increased with disease progression. IL-18BP plasma levels paralled the increase of IL-18 with disease progression, except in stage Child C cirrhosis. IL-18 and IL-18BP levels were elevated independent of the etiology of CLD. IL-18 and IL-18BP correlated with laboratory parameters of inflammation and liver injury. Plasma levels of IL-18 and its antagonist, IL-18BP, are elevated in CLD and correlate with severity of disease. IL-18BP may not be sufficient to counteract the overwhelming proinflammatory response in end stage liver disease.

Cytokines chronic liver disease cirrhosis 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Othmar Ludwiczek
    • 1
  • Arthur Kaser
    • 1
  • Daniela Novick
    • 2
  • Charles A. Dinarello
    • 3
  • Menachem Rubinstein
    • 2
  • Wolfgang Vogel
    • 1
  • Herbert Tilg
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology and HepatologyUniversity Hospital InnsbruckInnsbruckAustria
  2. 2.Department of Molecular Genetics, Weizmann Institute of Science, RehovotIsrael
  3. 3.University of Colorado Health Sciences CenterDenverUSA

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