Objective: To evaluate the release of interleukin-6 (IL-6) by oesophageal mucosa and to establish the serum levels of IL-6 and C-reactive protein (CRP), and plasma fibrinogen in children with reflux oesophagitis.
Design: In a prospective study, IL-6 release by tissue fragments obtained from oesophageal biopsies was determined and serum IL-6 and CRP as well as plasma fibrinogen were analysed.
Methods: The study population comprised ten children with reflux oesophagitis, diagnosed on the basis of 24 h oesophageal pH monitoring and endoscopy with biopsies. Ten children with recurrent abdominal pain were studied for comparative purposes. Biopsy tissue fragments were processed to obtain a cell suspension and the release of IL-6 was determined in culture medium. Serum IL-6 levels were measured by ELISA, serum CRP by turbidimetry, and plasma fibrinogen by spectrophotometry.
Results: Oesophageal cells obtained from reflux oesophagitis patients synthesize and release in vitro a significantly higher amount of IL-6 than controls (71.26+/-19.5 versus 31.67+/-8.02 pg/10(6) cells; P<0.01). Serum IL-6, serum CRP and plasma fibrinogen levels were not statistically different between patients with reflux oesophagitis and controls.
Conclusions: These results suggest a short-term action of IL-6 since its effects could be exerted only in the microenvironment of the oesophageal mucosa.