Plasma cytokine profiles in very preterm infants with late-onset sepsis

Julie Hibbert, Tobias Strunk, Karen Simmer, Peter Richmond, David Burgner, Andrew Currie

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11 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction Deficiencies in innate immune responses may contribute to the increased susceptibility to infection in preterm infants. In vivo cytokine profiles in response to sepsis in very preterm infants are not fully understood. Aims To characterise plasma pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokine concentrations and pre-defined ratios in very preterm infants with late-onset sepsis (LOS). Methods In this observational study, peripheral blood samples were collected at the time of evaluation for suspected LOS from 31 preterm infants (<30 weeks gestational age). Plasma cytokine concentrations were determined by 12-plex immunoassay. Results IL-10, IFN-γ, IL-12p70, IP-10, IL-6 and CCL2 were elevated in the majority infants with LOS (n = 12) compared to those without LOS (n = 19). There was no difference in TNF-α, IL-1β, IL-17AF, IL-8 and IL-15 concentrations between groups. IL-10/TNF-α ratios were increased, while CCL2/IL-10 and IL-12p70/IL-10 ratios were decreased in infants with LOS compared to those without. Conclusion Very preterm infants have a marked innate inflammatory response at the time of LOS. The increase in IL-10/TNF-α ratio may indicate early immune hypo-responsiveness. Longitudinal studies with a larger number of participants are required to understand immune responses and clinical outcomes following LOS in preterm infants.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0232933
JournalPLoS One
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2020


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