Normative levels of Interleukin 16 in umbilical cord blood

Clin Biochem. 2013 Dec;46(18):1857-9. doi: 10.1016/j.clinbiochem.2013.07.012. Epub 2013 Jul 24.


Objectives: The need for early and accurate prediction of outcome in hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy (HIE) remains critical. We have previously demonstrated that Interleukin 16 (IL-16) is raised in the umbilical cord blood (UCB) of infants with moderate and severe HIE and has the potential to be developed as a predictive biomarker. Normal reference ranges for IL-16 in UCB have not been previously described. The aim of this study was to determine normative levels of IL-16 in full term neonates using UCB following uncomplicated deliveries and to examine the effect of labour on cord IL-16 values.

Design and methods: Full term infants were recruited as part of an ongoing birth cohort study, the Cork BASELINE Birth Cohort Study. All had UCB drawn and bio-banked at -80°C, within 3hours of birth. Samples for this experiment were chosen from this population based cohort study to represent uncomplicated pre-labour caesarean sections and spontaneous vaginal deliveries. Analysis was performed on plasma EDTA, using ELISA Quantikine® (R&D Systems, Europe).

Results: Samples were analysed from 48 infants with two modes of delivery; spontaneous vaginal delivery (n=12 male, n=12 female) and elective caesarean section (n=12 male, n=12 female). The range of all samples was normally distributed between 87.0 and 114.6pg/ml. Overall mean (SD) for IL-16 was 102.9 (21.5) pg/ml. Levels were not affected by spontaneous vaginal delivery or gender.

Conclusion: For the first time we have described the expected range of cord plasma IL-16 levels in healthy term infants following pre-labour and post-labour delivery.

Trial registration: NCT01498965.

Keywords: Cytokines; ELISA; Elective caesarean section; Hypoxic–ischaemic encephalopathy; Interleukin 16; Pregnancy; Umbilical cord blood; Vaginal delivery.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cesarean Section
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Fetal Blood / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Interleukin-16 / blood*
  • Labor, Obstetric / blood
  • Male
  • Pregnancy
  • Reference Values*


  • Interleukin-16

Associated data