The role of cytokines in the failing human heart

Cardiol Clin. 1998 Nov;16(4):645-56, viii. doi: 10.1016/s0733-8651(05)70041-2.


Despite repeated attempts to develop a unifying hypothesis that explains the clinical syndrome of heart failure, no single conceptual paradigm has withstood the test of time. In this regard, recent studies have shown that a class of biologically active molecules, generically referred to as cytokines, are overexposed in heart failure. This article will review recent clinical and experimental material that suggest proinflammatory (stress activated) cytokines such as tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TFN-alpha), interleukin-1 (IL-1), and interleukin-6 (IL-6) may play a role in the pathogenesis of congestive heart failure. The scope of this article includes an overview of the biology of cytokines in the heart, as well as review of the clinical studies that have documented elevated levels of cytokines and cytokine receptors in patients with heart failure.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cytokines / physiology*
  • Heart Failure / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Myocardium / metabolism
  • Receptors, Cytokine / physiology


  • Cytokines
  • Receptors, Cytokine