Temporal profile of serum anti-inflammatory and pro-inflammatory interleukins in acute ischemic stroke patients

Neurol Sci. 2001 Aug;22(4):289-96. doi: 10.1007/s10072-001-8170-y.


The presence of an inflammatory response in the pathophysiology of acute brain ischemia is relatively well established, but less is known about the anti-inflammatory mechanisms. The aim of the present study was to evaluate part of the immune response in acute stroke patients and to analyze a possible correlation with other hematological parameters, clinical outcome, size of infarct and subtypes of strokes. We prospectively studied 42 stroke patients, without signs of infections or inflammatory diseases, at days 0, 1, 3, 7 and 14, and 39 healthy control subjects. We measured serum levels of the anti-inflammatory cytokine interleukin-10 (IL-10) and the pro-inflammatory cytokine interleukin-6 (IL-6) by ELISA method. We observed a highly inverse correlation between these two molecules in control subjects (r=-0.78, p=0.0000001), and this correlation was lost in stroke patients. Patients had significantly lowered IL-10 serum levels soon after the acute event (p=0.00005), with a slight increase at the seventh day. On the other hand, patients had increased IL-6 serum levels compared with controls after day one until day 14 (p<0.04), with a maximum increase at day 3. Interleukin-6 correlated with clinical outcome whereas interleukin-10 did not. Low levels of interleukin-10 indicate that the antiinflammatory response is down-regulated in acute stroke patients. The pro-inflammatory response begins 24 hours after the onset of acute cerebral ischemia, as indicated by the increased serum levels of interleukin-6. The physiological balance between these two molecules is altered in acute stroke patients.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Brain Infarction / blood
  • Brain Infarction / immunology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-10 / blood*
  • Interleukin-10 / immunology
  • Interleukin-6 / blood*
  • Interleukin-6 / immunology
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Stroke / immunology*


  • Interleukin-6
  • Interleukin-10