To assess the role of IL-6/IL-18 in the pathogenesis of systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis (s-JIA) and to investigate the clinical significance of serum IL-18 levels for predicting macrophage activation syndrome (MAS) development, we measured the serum IL-6/IL-18 levels in 76s-JIA patients, including 15 with MAS, and compared them with the clinical features. We identified 2 distinct subsets on the basis of serum IL-6/IL-18 levels. The IL-18-dominant subset had more patients who developed MAS. Serum IL-18 levels during active phase in patients with MAS were significantly higher than those without MAS. The cutoff value of serum IL-18 levels for predicting MAS development was 47750 pg/ml. The patients with IL-18 dominant subset at their disease onset were significantly more likely to develop MAS after TCZ therapy started. IL-18 might have a key role in the pathogenesis of MAS. Serum IL-18 levels >47750 pg/ml might be useful to predict MAS development.
Keywords: Interleukin-18 (IL-18); Prediction of macrophage activation syndrome; Systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis.
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