Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate whether the serum levels of soluble interleukin-2R (sIL-2R), tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma), IL-6, IL-10, and transforming growth factor-beta(1) (TGF-beta(1)) were associated with the development of acute graft-vs-host disease (aGVHD).
Patients and methods: Serum cytokine levels were sequentially measured by sandwich enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay in 13 patients who had received full-match allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT).
Results: Serum sIL-2R and IL-10 levels from the 1st to the 15th week post transplantation were significantly higher in the group that developed aGVHD than in the group without aGVHD. sIL-2R levels increased in direct correlation to engraftment and at onset of aGVHD, whereas IL-10 levels increased transiently following HSCT. The mean TNF-alpha concentration in the first weeks after transplantation was augmented in the group that developed aGVHD. Furthermore, a decrease in TGF-beta(1) levels after engraftment was significantly associated with aGVHD. No correlation was found between aGVHD and the other cytokines.
Conclusions: These results support the idea that a balance between cytokines derived from type 1 and type 2 T-helper cells may be important in the development and control of aGVHD. Although sIL-2R, TNF-alpha, IL-10, and TGF-beta(1) levels have been correlated with aGVHD, sIL-2R levels at engraftment may provide a better parameter for early detection of aGVHD after allogeneic HSCT.