To evaluate the balance of interleukin IL18 and its endogenous antagonist IL18 binding protein (IL18BP) in patients with idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP), plasma IL18, IL18BP, interferon gamma (IFNG) and IL4 levels, as well as platelet counts were measured in patients with active ITP (n = 23), ITP in remission (n = 21) and in healthy subjects (n = 24) by enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Using real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction, the mRNA expression of IL18, IL18BP, IFNG, IL4, T-box (TBX21) and GATA-binding protein 3(GATA3) were studied in all subjects. The results showed that IL18 and IFNG protein and mRNA levels were significantly increased in patients with active ITP than in control subjects, but that IL18BP were not significantly elevated in ITP patients, which resulted in an elevated ratio of IL18/IL18BP in patients with active disease. During remission stages, the levels of these cytokines were comparable to those of healthy controls. The elevated levels of IL18/IL18BP in plasma during active stages of disease suggest a possible role in the pathogenesis and course of ITP.