Association of pro-inflammatory cytokines with trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder visiting a tertiary care hospital in Kathmandu

PLoS One. 2023 Feb 2;18(2):e0281125. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0281125. eCollection 2023.


Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental disorder that can occur after trauma. Although inflammatory markers such as cytokines are found altered in trauma and PTSD, there is no consensus regarding which can be considered as biomarkers. Studies from South Asia region is also rare. We studied cytokines among trauma affected patients and matched healthy controls. Fifty patients (cases) with trauma, visiting the University hospital in Kathmandu and thirty-nine healthy controls were selected, and the levels of cytokines were determined using a Luminex IS 200. We compared the levels of the cytokines in thirty-four age and gender matched pairs of case and control among three groups: healthy volunteers, cases diagnosed as PTSD, and cases without PTSD. Among the 34 pair-matched cases and controls, IL-6 was significantly higher in both PTSD positive cases [2.43 (0.00-14.54) pg/ml; p = 0.004] and PTSD negative cases [3.00 (0.92-3.86) pg/ml; p = 0.005], than in controls [0.39 (0.00-11.38) pg/ml]. IL-1β was significantly higher in PTSD positive cases [0.17 (0.00-5.27) pg/ml; p = 0.011] than in controls 0.00 (0.00-0.12) pg/ml. Other cytokines did not show significant differences. IL-6 was higher in both the trauma affected groups and IL-1β was higher in the trauma affected group with PTSD when compared to healthy controls. This supports the immune system activation hypothesis after trauma.

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers
  • Cytokines*
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-6
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic* / complications
  • Tertiary Care Centers


  • Cytokines
  • Interleukin-6
  • Biomarkers

Grant support

The scholarship to conduct this research was provided to Rishav Koirala by QUOTA scholarship for PhD program through the Lånakassen, Norwegian Government (case no. 15/1488575-4, reference no. F4R4C2T7). URL: The Regional Health Authority of South-Eastern Norway and Oslo University Hospital provided the financial support for conducting cytokine analysis in Norway. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.