Serum levels of cytokines and C-reactive protein in acute ischemic stroke patients, and their relationship to stroke lateralization, type, and infarct volume

J Neurol. 2011 Apr;258(4):677-85. doi: 10.1007/s00415-011-6006-0. Epub 2011 Mar 20.


There is increasing evidence that inflammation plays an important role in the progression of acute ischemic stroke (AIS). The primary aims of this study were to examine the serum levels of 13 cytokines, C-reactive protein (CRP), glucose, and hemoglobin in AIS patients, and their relationship to stroke lateralization, type, and infarct volume. Forty-five patients with AIS were evaluated. Blood samples were taken within 72 h, and volumetric analyses performed within 1-7 days after AIS onset. Cytokines were measured in serum from all patients and from 40 control subjects using Luminex Bio-Plex XMap technology. The levels of interleukin (IL)-1ra (p < 0.001), IL-6 (p < 0.001), IL-8 (p < 0.001), IL-9 (p = 0.038), IL-10 (p = 0.001), IL-12 (p = 0.001), IL-18 (p < 0.001), and GRO-α (CXCL1) (p = 0.017) were significantly higher in the AIS patients than in the controls. The IL-8 level was significantly correlated with age in the patient group (r = 0.52, p < 0.001). None of the variables were found to be associated with stroke lateralization. Infarct volume was significantly positively correlated with CRP level (r = 0.47, p = 0.005). Patients with radiologically confirmed infarctions had significantly elevated serum levels of GRO-α (p = 0.023). The cytokine profile of the AIS patients supports not only earlier findings of a proinflammatory response but also early activation of endogenous immunosuppressive mechanisms. Novel findings of this study are elevated serum levels of IL-9 and GRO-α. Elevated GRO-α in AIS patients with radiologically confirmed infarctions suggests that GRO-α is specific for stroke of known etiology. Our results indicate that CRP plays an important role in the progression of cerebral tissue injury.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Brain Infarction / etiology*
  • C-Reactive Protein / metabolism*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cytokines / blood*
  • Functional Laterality / physiology*
  • Hemoglobins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Middle Aged
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Stroke* / blood
  • Stroke* / complications
  • Stroke* / pathology
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed


  • Blood Glucose
  • Cytokines
  • Hemoglobins
  • C-Reactive Protein