Background: Novel methods for cytokine analysis allow for the simultaneous measurement of 25 cytokines in 50 μL serum or plasma. Data on values of most of these cytokines in non-infected newborn infants are lacking. We analyzed levels of 25 cytokines in the first week of life in non-infected preterm and term infants and related them to gestational age.
Findings: During the first week after birth, no trend over time was found in any of the cytokines, except for IL-1Ra and IL-6 where higher values were found in the first four hours. Between 24 and 72 hrs levels of IL-1Ra, IL-2, IL-8, IL-12, IL-13, IL-15, IL-17, IFNγ, MIP-1a, MCP-1, TNFα were lower in infants born after 30-32 wks compared to infants ≥ 36 wks; levels of IL-6, IL-10, IP-10 were lower in preterm infants of both 30-32 and 33-36 weeks. No difference between groups for any of the levels was found for IL-1b, IL-2r, IL-4, IL-5, IL-7, IFNa, MIP-1b, GM-CSF, Eotaxin and RANTES.
Conclusions: Levels of 25 interleukines are stable in the first week of life in non-infected infants. Infants born after 30-32 wks showed lower levels of fourteen cytokines compared to infants born after more then 36 wks. This indicates a lower stimulation or activation of Th-1 cells, monocytes and dendritic cells in these infants.