Background: Patients with chronic heart failure have elevated levels of proinflammatory cytokines; however, the mechanism for their increased expression and the site of their production are unknown.
Methods: Twenty-two patients with heart failure, New York Heart Association functional class II to IV, underwent hemodynamic evaluation and echocardiographic study. Blood samples for cytokine evaluation were performed in the ascending aorta, coronary sinus, inferior vena cava, and hepatic vein. Levels of tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), its soluble receptors sTNF-RI and sTNF-RII, interleukin-6 (IL-6), IL-6 soluble receptor, soluble gp130, interleukin-2 soluble receptor, and soluble Fas were measured with enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay kits.
Results: IL-6 concentrations were higher in class IV patients than in class III patients, which in turn were higher than those in class II. TNF-alpha, sTNF-RI, and sTNF-RII were higher in class IV patients than in class III and II patients. Significant correlations were found between IL-6 concentrations and left ventricular end-systolic volume (r = 0.64; P <.001), pulmonary wedge pressure (r = 0.56; P <.01), and left ventricular ejection fraction (r = -0.56; P <.01). No correlation was found between TNF-alpha and its soluble receptors and left ventricular volumes or hemodynamic measures. Finally, no difference in cytokine concentrations was found among the different sample sites.
Conclusions: Among inflammatory cytokines, IL-6 concentrations better reflect the hemodynamic derangement in patients with heart failure. No cardiac or gut production of cytokines occurs in patients with mild to severe heart failure.