Proinflammatory cytokines and early neurological worsening in ischemic stroke

Author(s): Vila N, Castillo J, Dávalos A, Chamorro A

Abstract

Background and purpose: The mechanisms for clinical deterioration in patients with ischemic stroke are not completely understood. Several proinflammatory cytokines are released early after the onset of brain ischemia, but it is unknown whether inflammation predisposes to neurological deterioration. We assessed the implication of interleukin (IL)-6 and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha in early neurological worsening in ischemic stroke.

Methods: Two hundred thirty-one patients consecutively admitted with first-ever ischemic cerebral infarction within the first 24 hours from onset were included. Neurological worsening was defined when the Canadian Stroke Scale (CSS) score fell at least 1 point during the first 48 hours after admission. IL-6 and TNF-alpha were determined in plasma and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF; n=81) obtained on admission.

Results: Eighty-three patients (35.9%) deteriorated within the first 48 hours. IL-6 in plasma (>21.5 pg/mL; OR 37.7, CI 11.9 to 118.8) or in CSF (>6.3 pg/mL; OR 13.1, CI 2.2 to 77.3) were independent factors for early clinical worsening, with multiple logistic regression. The association was statistically significant in all ischemic stroke subtypes as well as in subjects with cortical or subcortical infarctions. IL-6 in plasma was highly correlated with body temperature, glucose, fibrinogen, and infarct volume. CSF and plasma concentrations of TNF-alpha were also higher in patients who deteriorated, but the differences observed did not remain significant on multivariate analysis.

Conclusions: In addition to participating in the acute-phase response that follows focal cerebral ischemia, IL-6 levels on admission are associated with early clinical deterioration. The association between IL-6 and early neurological worsening prevails without regard to the initial size, topography, or mechanism of the ischemic infarction.

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