Tumor necrosis factor-alpha, interleukin-1 beta, and interleukin-6 expression in inflammatory bowel disease

Dig Dis Sci. 1992 Jun;37(6):818-26. doi: 10.1007/BF01300378.


The etiology of ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn's disease (CD) remains enigmatic. Infiltrating intestinal macrophages are capable of producing the proinflammatory cytokines tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), interleukin-1 beta (IL-1 beta), and interleukin-6 (IL-6). We investigated the presence of IL-6, TNF-alpha and IL-1 beta mRNA transcripts in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), normal, and other inflammatory intestinal specimens utilizing the polymerase chain reaction (PCR). TNF-alpha mRNA levels did not very between inflammatory bowel disease and control specimens. IL-1 beta mRNA levels were highest in active UC and noninflammatory bowel disease inflammatory specimens while IL-6 mRNA levels were highest in active IBD specimens. Infiltrating T cells, macrophages, and B cells were identified as sources of IL-6 protein in inflammatory bowel disease specimens by immunofluorescent staining. IL-6 transcripts were elevated only in active inflammatory bowel disease specimens, suggesting that IL-6-mediated immune processes are ongoing in the inflammatory mucosal environment of CD and UC.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • B-Lymphocytes / metabolism
  • Blotting, Northern
  • Colitis, Ulcerative / genetics*
  • Crohn Disease / genetics*
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Gene Expression / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-1 / genetics*
  • Interleukin-6 / genetics*
  • Intestinal Mucosa / chemistry
  • Macrophages / metabolism
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis*
  • T-Lymphocytes / metabolism
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / genetics*


  • Interleukin-1
  • Interleukin-6
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha