The effect of high dose digoxin on cytokines in healthy dogs

Mediators Inflamm. 2002 Aug;11(4):261-3. doi: 10.1080/096293502900000122.


Background: Tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha and interleukin (IL)-1beta are pro-inflammatory cytokines, causing myocardial dysfunction and a negative inotropic effect. The drugs used to treat heart failure affect the production of cytokines. Digoxin, on which this study was focused, is one of the drugs for the treatment of heart failure.

Aim: The present study was designed to examine the early effects of high doses of digoxin on the production of cytokines in healthy dogs.

Methods: Digoxin was given parenterally to dogs at 0.15 mg/kg. IL-1beta and TNF-alpha production and levels of digoxin in the serum were measured 0, 12, 24, 48, and 72 h following administration of digoxin.

Results: As the levels of serum digoxin taken at 12, 24, 48, and 72 h of administration were considered significantly high compared with preceding values (p < 0.001), no notable change in serum IL-1beta and TNF-alpha levels was observed.

Conclusions: These results suggest that high doses of digoxin do not cause a significant cytokine production in heart muscle in the early phase.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cytokines / biosynthesis*
  • Digoxin / blood
  • Digoxin / pharmacology*
  • Dogs
  • Interleukin-1 / biosynthesis
  • Interleukin-1 / blood
  • Interleukin-6 / biosynthesis
  • Interleukin-6 / blood
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / analysis
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / biosynthesis


  • Cytokines
  • Interleukin-1
  • Interleukin-6
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Digoxin