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Mediators of Inflammation
Volume 7 (1998), Issue 2, Pages 69-72

Serum levels of pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines in non-pregnant women, during pregnancy, labour and abortion

1Department of Biology, Division of Gynaecology, University of Crete, Heraklion, Greece
2Department of Medicine, Division of Gynaecology, University of Crete, Heraklion, Greece
3Immunology Centre for Pregnancy, Crete, Heraklion, Greece

Copyright © 1998 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. 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.


Disturbance of the cytokine equilibrium has been accused for many pathological disorders. Microbial infections, autoimmune diseases, graft rejection have been correlated to over- or under-production of specific cytokines which are produced as responder molecules to the various immune stimuli. The sole naturally occurring immune reaction in the organism is developed during the gestational period where, despite the presence of a semi-allogeneic graft, maternal immunoreactivity is driven to support fetal growth. The successful embryo development has been attributed to the important intervention of cytokines where some have been characterized as indispensable and others deleterious to fetal growth. However, the physiological levels of many factors during the gestational process have not been determined. Thus, in the present study we have measured and established the values of IL-1α, IL-2, IL-3, IL-4, IL-6, IL-10, IL-12, GM-CSF, TNF- α and IFN-γ during all phases of human pregnancy (first, second and third trimester of pregnancy, labour, abortions of the first trimester) as well as in the non-pregnant control state. This is an attempt to assess serum protein concentrations and present the physiological levels of these cytokines at certain time intervals providing thus a diagnostic advantage in pregnancy cases where the mother cannot immunologically support the fetus. Exploitation of this knowledge and further research may be useful for therapeutic interventions in the future.