Cytokine responses to cardiopulmonary bypass: lessons learned from cardiac transplantation

Ann Thorac Surg. 1997 Jan;63(1):269-76. doi: 10.1016/s0003-4975(96)00931-9.


Background: A growing body of evidence relates the release during cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB) of proinflammatory cytokines, such as tumor necrosis factor-alpha, interleukin (IL)-6, and IL-8, to the postoperative systemic inflammatory response syndrome. Antiinflammatory cytokines, such as IL-10, however, may also play an important role in limiting these complications.

Methods: The English-language literature was reviewed. Emphasis was placed on cytokine responses during clinical CPB for cardiac operations and, in particular, for heart and heart-lung transplantation.

Results: The recent data indicate that (1) although cytokine release can be triggered by many factors during CPB, ischemia-reperfusion may play the most important role; (2) the levels of tumor necrosis factor-alpha, IL-6, and IL-8 are correlated with the duration of cardiac ischemia and the myocardium is a major source of these three cytokines during CPB; (3) IL-10 levels are correlated with the duration of CPB and the liver is a major source of IL-10 during CPB; and (4) steroid pretreatment is an effective intervention to inhibit the release of proinflammatory cytokines and enhance IL-10 production.

Conclusions: The improved knowledge of cytokine responses to CPB may help to develop interventions aimed at reducing postoperative morbidity and mortality.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / therapeutic use
  • Cardiopulmonary Bypass*
  • Complement Activation
  • Cytokines / metabolism*
  • Heart Transplantation*
  • Heart-Lung Transplantation
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-10 / physiology
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Myocardial Reperfusion Injury / immunology
  • Myocardium / metabolism
  • Postoperative Complications / immunology*
  • Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome / immunology*
  • Temperature


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones
  • Cytokines
  • Interleukin-10