Tumor necrosis factor-alpha, interleukin-1 beta, and interleukin-6 plasma levels in neonatal sepsis

Pediatr Res. 1993 Apr;33(4 Pt 1):380-3. doi: 10.1203/00006450-199304000-00013.


Tumor necrosis factor-alpha, IL-1 beta, and IL-6 are thought to be involved in the pathogenesis of sepsis with gram-negative bacteria. We studied these cytokines during neonatal sepsis with mainly gram-positive bacteria. Ten newborns with clinical sepsis and 22 healthy controls were enrolled in the study. TNF alpha plasma levels proved to be increased in the newborns with sepsis up to 560 +/- 234 pg/mL (ng/L) versus 36 +/- 4 pg/mL (ng/L) in the control group (p < 0.005), whereas IL-6 plasma levels in newborns with sepsis were 79.700 +/- 37.500 pg/mL (ng/L) versus 55 +/- 28 pg/mL (ng/L) in the control group (p < 0.01). The IL-1 beta plasma levels were only slightly elevated in the group newborns with sepsis [up to 18 +/- 5 pg/mL (ng/L) versus 7 +/- 1 pg/mL (ng/L) in the control group (p < 0.01)]. After the start of therapy with antibiotics, both TNF alpha and IL-6 plasma levels decreased concomitantly with the improvement of the clinical situation within 2 d. These data confirm the abundant presence of TNF alpha and IL-6 during neonatal sepsis, whereas IL-1 beta appeared to be present in small amounts only. Nevertheless, the IL-1 beta but not the TNF alpha plasma level appeared to correlate inversely with the decrease in diastolic tension as standardized according to birth weight (R = 0.66, p = 0.04). TNF alpha, IL-1 beta, and IL-6 were not correlated with any febrile response in the group with sepsis.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bacteremia / blood*
  • Bacteremia / etiology
  • Bacteremia / immunology
  • Female
  • Fever / blood
  • Fever / etiology
  • Gram-Positive Bacterial Infections / blood*
  • Gram-Positive Bacterial Infections / etiology
  • Gram-Positive Bacterial Infections / immunology
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Interleukin-1 / blood*
  • Interleukin-6 / blood*
  • Male
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / metabolism*


  • Interleukin-1
  • Interleukin-6
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha