Effect of corticosteroids in addition to intravenous gamma globulin therapy on serum cytokine levels in the acute phase of Kawasaki disease in children

J Pediatr. 2003 Sep;143(3):363-7. doi: 10.1067/s0022-3476(03)00387-1.


Objective: The aim of this multicenter prospective and randomized study was to determine the effect of adding corticosteroids to intravenous gamma globulin (i.v.GG) therapy on serum cytokine levels, as well as to see its effect on the clinical course in children in the acute phase of Kawasaki disease (KD).

Study design: Patients with KD (n=32) were randomized to receive either i.v.GG alone (G group) or i.v.GG plus corticosteroids (G+S group). The clinical course and cytokine responses between groups were compared.

Results: The pretreatment serum levels of interleukin (IL)-2, IL-6, IL-8, and IL-10 were significantly higher in patients with KD than in healthy controls. Although i.v.GG alone failed to reduce cytokine concentrations within 24 hours of i.v.GG administration, corticosteroids plus i.v.GG reduced IL-2, IL-6, IL-8, and IL-10 levels. The levels of IL-2, IL-6, IL-8, and IL-10 within 24 hours after initiating i.v.GG therapy were significantly lower in the G+S group than in the G group. The duration of fever was shorter, and the C-reactive protein concentration decreased more quickly in the G+S group than in the G group.

Conclusions: These findings suggest that corticosteroids rapidly ameliorate symptoms by reducing cytokine levels in children with KD.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Acute-Phase Reaction / blood
  • Acute-Phase Reaction / drug therapy*
  • Acute-Phase Reaction / etiology*
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cytokines / blood*
  • Cytokines / drug effects*
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infusions, Intravenous
  • Male
  • Mucocutaneous Lymph Node Syndrome / blood
  • Mucocutaneous Lymph Node Syndrome / complications*
  • Mucocutaneous Lymph Node Syndrome / drug therapy*
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Prednisolone / administration & dosage*
  • Prednisolone / therapeutic use*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Time Factors
  • gamma-Globulins / administration & dosage*
  • gamma-Globulins / therapeutic use*


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Cytokines
  • gamma-Globulins
  • Prednisolone