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Serum levels of cytokines in alcoholic liver cirrhosis and pancreatitis

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Although altered cytokine homeostasis has been implicated in the pathogenesis of both alcoholic liver and pancreas diseases, the serum cytokine pattern characteristic of concomitant alcoholic liver cirrhosis and pancreatitis has not been examined. In this paper we examine the serum levels of proinflammatory cytokines, such as IL-6, IL-8, TNF-alpha, and also antiinflammatory ones, such as IL-10 and TGF-beta, in 22 patients with alcoholic liver cirrhosis and 28 patients with chronic pancreatitis and compare them with those detected in the sera of 14 patients with concomitant alcoholic cirrhosis and pancreatitis. All patients were heavy alcohol drinkers, consuming more than 70 g of pure alcohol per day for at least 5 years. The control group consisted of 33 age- and sex-matched healthy subjects receiving an annual health examination. They were not addicted to alcohol and confirmed to be free of major cardiopulmonary, gastrointestinal and hepatobiliary-pancreatic diseases. The results indicated that the cytokine pattern in the sera of patients with concomitant liver cirrhosis and pancreatitis was characterized by increased levels of two proinflammatory cytokines: TNF-alpha, the concentration of which seemed to be influenced by both liver and pancreas injury, and IL-6, which seemed to be rather connected with pancreas injury. Increased levels of IL-8, which were detected in the sera of patients with cirrhosis, pancreatitis and concomitant cirrhosis and pancreatitis, were rather connected with exacerbation of the disease processes which occurred only in some of the patients. No significant changes in the levels of IL-10 or TGF-beta were detected in the sera of patients with chronic pancreatitis and concomitant cirrhosis and pancreatitis, while in patients with cirrhosis significantly decreased levels of IL-10 were found. A significant imbalance between proinflammatory/antiinflammatory signals was especially characteristic of alcoholic cirrhosis and concomitant cirrhosis with pancreatitis.



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A. Szuster-Ciesielska, Department of Virology and Immunology, Maria Curie-Sklodowska University, Akademicka 19, 20-033 Lublin, Poland


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