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BioMed Research International
Volume 2016 (2016), Article ID 6379850, 8 pages
Clinical Study

The Role of Interleukin-18 in Serum and Follicular Fluid during In Vitro Fertilization and Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection

1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University Hospitals Schleswig-Holstein, Kiel Campus, Arnold-Heller Str. 3, House 24, 24105 Kiel, Germany
2Clinic for Obstetrics and Gynecology Leer, Augustenstr. 35–37, 26789 Leer, Germany
3Institute for Medical Informatics and Statistics, University Hospitals Schleswig-Holstein, Kiel Campus, Brunswiker Str. 10, 24105 Kiel, Germany

Received 14 March 2016; Revised 30 May 2016; Accepted 28 August 2016

Academic Editor: Justin C. Konje

Copyright © 2016 Veronika Günther et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Cytokines are key modulators of the immune system and play an important role in the ovarian cycle. IL-18 levels in serum and follicular fluid were analyzed in women undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF) or intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) treatment. The cohort study group consisted of 90 women, who were undergoing IVF or ICSI. The body mass index (BMI) was determined in all patients; IL-18 levels were measured in follicular fluid and serum. IL-18 levels in serum were significantly higher than those in follicular fluid. The median level in serum was 162.75 (80.21) pg/mL and that in follicular fluid, 138.24 (91.78) pg/mL. Women undergoing IVF treatment had lower IL-18 levels in serum (median, 151.19 (90.73) pg/mL) than those treated with ICSI (median, 163.57 (89.97) pg/mL). The correlation between IL-18 levels in serum and BMI was statistically significant, as well as the correlation between IL-18 levels in follicular fluid and ovarian stimulation response (). IL-18 was correlated with the response to ovarian stimulation and was the reason for successful pregnancy after IVF or ICSI treatment. Among other cytokines, IL-18 appears to be a promising prognostic marker of success in reproductive treatment and should be evaluated as such in further prospective studies.