Circulating interleukin-8 concentrations in patients with multiple organ failure of septic and nonseptic origin

Crit Care Med. 1994 Apr;22(4):673-9. doi: 10.1097/00003246-199404000-00025.


Objectives: Interleukin (IL)-8, a pro-inflammatory cytokine, is a potent chemoattractant factor and an activator of neutrophils produced by many cell types after stimulation by IL-1, tumor necrosis factor (TNF), or microbial products such as endotoxins. We investigated whether the presence of measurable IL-8 in plasma was associated with the clinical status of severely ill septic or nonseptic patients susceptible to the development of multiple organ failure.

Design: Cohort study.

Setting: A collaborative study between an intensive care unit and a research laboratory.

Subjects: Circulating IL-8 concentrations were measured in the plasma of 27 patients with sepsis syndrome and in 16 patients with noninfectious shock because these two conditions put patients at risk for the development of multiple organ failure. Sixteen of 27 patients with severe infection and 13 of 16 patients with noninfectious pathologies developed multiple organ failure.

Measurements and main results: A specific enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for IL-8 was set up with a monoclonal and a rabbit polyclonal antihuman IL-8 using a sandwich technique. High concentrations of circulating IL-8 were found in the plasma of patients with sepsis syndrome. Among septic patients, a significant difference was observed between concentrations of IL-8 in survivors (n = 16) and nonsurvivors (n = 11) (81 +/- 13 pg/mL vs. 3326 +/- 1219 pg/mL, respectively; p = .001). A correlation was noticed between plasma IL-8 and IL-6 concentrations (r2 = .42; p = .001), while no correlation was observed between IL-8 and TNF-alpha values, or between IL-8 and IL-1 beta. Although the mortality rate of nonseptic, multiple organ failure patients was 92%, low plasma concentrations of IL-8 were found (78 +/- 34 pg/mL), while high plasma concentrations were measured in septic, multiple organ failure patients (mortality rate 69%) who were sampled at a similar stage. By contrast, increased IL-6 values were observed in both septic and nonseptic, multiple organ failure patients.

Conclusions: In septic patients, high amounts of circulating IL-8 concentrations correlate with fatal outcome, whereas only low plasma concentrations of IL-8 are present in patients with nonseptic, multiple organ failure. This finding suggests that the signals involved in the exacerbation of IL-8 production are different, depending on infectious or noninfectious etiology.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Bacterial Infections / blood*
  • Bacterial Infections / complications
  • Bacterial Infections / mortality
  • Cohort Studies
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units
  • Interleukin-6 / blood
  • Interleukin-8 / blood*
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Organ Failure / blood*
  • Multiple Organ Failure / etiology
  • Multiple Organ Failure / mortality
  • Prognosis
  • Shock / blood
  • Shock / mortality


  • Interleukin-6
  • Interleukin-8