Peak plasma interleukin-6 and other peripheral markers of inflammation in the first week of ischaemic stroke correlate with brain infarct volume, stroke severity and long-term outcome

BMC Neurol. 2004 Jan 15;4:2. doi: 10.1186/1471-2377-4-2.


Background: Cerebral ischaemia initiates an inflammatory response in the brain and periphery. We assessed the relationship between peak values of plasma interleukin-6 (IL-6) in the first week after ischaemic stroke, with measures of stroke severity and outcome.

Methods: Thirty-seven patients with ischaemic stroke were prospectively recruited. Plasma IL-6, and other markers of peripheral inflammation, were measured at pre-determined timepoints in the first week after stroke onset. Primary analyses were the association between peak plasma IL-6 concentration with both modified Rankin score (mRS) at 3 months and computed tomography (CT) brain infarct volume.

Results: Peak plasma IL-6 concentration correlated significantly (p < 0.001) with CT brain infarct volume (r = 0.75) and mRS at 3 months (r = 0.72). It correlated similarly with clinical outcome at 12 months or stroke severity. Strong associations were also noted between either peak plasma C-reactive protein (CRP) concentration or white blood cell (WBC) count, and all outcome measures.

Conclusions: These data provide evidence that the magnitude of the peripheral inflammatory response is related to the severity of acute ischaemic stroke, and clinical outcome.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Blood Sedimentation
  • Body Temperature
  • Brain Infarction / blood*
  • Brain Infarction / complications
  • Brain Infarction / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain Ischemia / blood*
  • Brain Ischemia / complications
  • Brain Ischemia / diagnostic imaging
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone / blood
  • Inflammation / blood*
  • Interleukin-6 / blood*
  • Leukocyte Count
  • Male
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prospective Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Stroke / blood*
  • Stroke / complications
  • Stroke / diagnostic imaging
  • Survival Rate
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed


  • Biomarkers
  • Interleukin-6
  • Hydrocortisone