This review was to assess the concentration changing trends of various cytokines in plasma of epilepsy patients after recent seizure, as well as to assess the differences between temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) and extra-TLE (XLE) patients. We performed a meta-analysis of studies measuring cytokine concentration in plasma of patients suffering from epilepsy after recent seizure, by searches of the English literature in Pubmed and Embase databases (to July 1st 2010) and a manual search of references. A random-effects model was used to do accumulative analysis for the included studies by RevMan 5.0 software. Eight studies were included and analyzed. We found the plasma concentrations of interleukin-6 (IL-6) within 72h after seizure were significantly increased in epileptic patients compared with control subjects (211 epilepsy patients vs. 564 controls, overall weighted mean difference 1.27pg/ml, 95% confidence interval 0.72-1.82, P<0.0001). There were no significant differences for IL-1 beta and, IL-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1RA) between the two groups. The concentration changes of IL-6 and IL-1RA were not significantly different between TLE patients and XLE patients. The result of this meta-analysis revealed significantly higher concentrations of the pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-6 in epileptic seizure patients compared with control subjects. Further rigorous studies are needed to clarify the precise role of cytokines in epilepsy.
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