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Effective phage therapy is associated with normalization of cytokine production by blood cell cultures

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The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of phagotherapy on tumor necrosis factor (TNF-) and interleukin 6 (IL-6) serum levels and the ability of blood cells to produce these cytokines in culture. Fifty one patients with long-term, suppurative infections of various tissues and organs were enrolled. The ability of cells to secrete cytokines was tested using whole blood cell cultures, unstimulated or stimulated with lipopolysaccharide (LPS) from E. coli. In addition, cytokine serum levels were determined. Measurement of cytokine activity was performed using bioassays. We showed that TNF-, but not IL-6 serum levels, were regulated upon division of patients into categories exhibiting initial: low, moderate and high cytokine levels. The low spontaneous production of IL-6 by blood cell cultures was elevated significantly on day 21 of phage therapy, whereas high release of this cytokine was inhibited. No such correlation was observed with LPS-induced IL-6 production in cell cultures when cells from low-, moderately- or highly-reactive patients were studied. Phage therapy modified TNF release according to the initial ability to produce that cytokine: it reduced TNF production in high responders and increased it in low responders. Patients infected only with Gram-positive bacteria demonstrated analogous changes in the spontaneous and LPS-induced TNF- production as in the whole studied group. A similar kind of regulation was observed in TNF- and LPS-induced production, i. e. low production was significantly elevated, high strongly inhibited, and moderate only slightly affected. In summary, we demonstrated for the first time that effective phage therapy can normalize TNF- serum levels and the production of TNF- and IL-6 by blood cell cultures.
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B. Weber-Dabrowska, Laboratory of Bacteriophages, Institute of Immunology and Experimental Therapy, Polish Academy of Sciences, Weigla 12, 53-114 Wroclaw, Poland
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