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Patients suffering from serious bacterial infection present to the hospital after early inflammatory events, such as release of tumor necrosis factor (TNF), have been initiated. The role of other cytokines, such as interleukin-8 (IL-8), a neutrophil chemoattractant and activator, in the pathophysiology of human sepsis is not well characterized, and there are only limited data on IL-6. We studied serial concentrations of TNF, IL-6 (involved in the acute-phase response), and IL-8 in plasma and leukocyte levels of mRNA for these cytokines in patients with localized and septicemic Pseudomonas pseudomallei infection on admission to the hospital and during a prolonged recovery phase (up to 30 days). Of 18 patients, 8 had detectable plasma IL-8 and all had raised plasma IL-6 concentrations. In patients who died median initial concentration of IL-8 (167 pg/ml; range, 97 to 362 pg/ml) and IL-6 (4,800 pg/ml; range, 60 to 9,245 pg/ml) in plasma were higher than those in survivors (P less than 0.008 and P = 0.007, respectively). Septic patients who survived and patients with localized disease had similar cytokine levels. Plasma IL-8 and IL-6 concentrations were elevated throughout the inpatient period of recovery. Circulating leukocytes contained mRNA for IL-8 but not for IL-6 and TNF, and they may secrete IL-8. An elevated plasma IL-6 concentration (greater than 1,000 pg/ml) had 75% mortality) was the best predictor of mortality in P. pseudomallei sepsis. Fifty percent of patients with detectable plasma IL-8 concentrations died. In contrast, plasma TNF bioactivity did not relate to outcome; 75% of patients who did never had detectable plasma TNF activity.


Journal article


Infection and immunity

Publication Date





2402 - 2408


Division of Communicable Diseases, St. George's Hospital Medical School, London, United Kingdom.


Leukocytes, Humans, Burkholderia pseudomallei, Pseudomonas Infections, Sepsis, Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha, RNA, Messenger, Interleukin-8, Interleukin-6, Adult, Aged, Middle Aged, Female, Male