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Immune thrombocytopenia: serum cytokine levels in children and adults

Srđana Čulić, Ilza Salamunić, Paško Konjevoda, Slavica Dajak, Jasminka Pavelić

Med Sci Monit 2013; 19:797-801

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.884017

Available online:

Published: 2013-09-27

Background: Immune thrombocytopenia (ITP) is an immune-mediated platelet disorder in which autoantibody-coated platelets are removed from the blood by monocytic phagocytes and there is impaired platelet production. There is a delicate balance of specific cytokine levels, which has an important role in the immune system and is known to be deregulated in autoimmune diseases. This study was designed to investigate the differences in Th cytokine levels between children and adults with newly diagnosed ITP and to compare these profiles to those found in healthy, age-matched controls.
Material and Methods: The concentration of IL-1alpha, IL-2, IL-3, IL-4, IL-6, IL-10, TNF-alpha, IFN-alpha, and IFN-alpha in serum specimens was analyzed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.
Results: At the time of ITP diagnosis, children showed significantly lower serum levels of interleukin IL-2 and tumor necrosis factor TNF-alpha and higher serum level of IL-3 than healthy controls. Serum level of IL-4 in adult ITP patients was higher than those in control subjects. When compared with adults, children with ITP had lower serum level of IL-4, IL-6 and IFN-alpha, and higher level of IFN-alpha.
Conclusions: Significant differences in serum cytokine levels between pediatric patients and healthy controls indicate that cytokine disturbances – especially changes in IL-2, IL-3 and TNF-alpha – might be involved in the pathogenesis of newly diagnosed ITP. TNF-alpha is the most informative variable for discrimination between healthy children and those with ITP.

Keywords: Adult, Adolescent, Aged, 80 and over, Child, Child, Preschool, Croatia, Cytokines - blood, Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay, Interferons - blood, Interleukins - blood, Multivariate Analysis, Platelet Count, Purpura, Thrombocytopenic, Idiopathic - blood, Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha - blood