Objective: Cytokines take place in immunologic and inflammatory reactions. The aim of this study was to describe the roles of various cytokines in the pathogenesis of Behçet's disease (BD).
Methods: Serum levels of interleukin-1 beta (IL-1 beta), interleukin-2 (IL-2), soluble IL-2 receptor (sIL-2R), interleukin-6 (IL-6) and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) were studied in 24 patients with active BD and 15 healthy adults as controls, by ELISA technique. Patients were separated into 2 groups according to the number of active organ systems (Group I: < 3 vs Group II: > or = 3).
Results: sIL-2R and age adjusted TNF-alpha levels were higher in patients with BD compared to controls (p = 0.004 and p = 0.002, respectively). But the median concentrations of Group I and Group II were not different. Serum levels of IL-1 beta, IL-2 and IL-6 were similar to the control group.
Conclusion: High serum levels of sIL-2R and TNF-alpha indicate activation of the immune system in BD. But this finding may not be useful as a marker of disease activity.