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Mediators of Inflammation
Volume 10, Issue 4, Pages 191-197

Tumor necrosis factor-α/interleukin-10 balance in normal and cystic fibrosis children

1Laboratory of Immunogenetics, Research Centre for Medical Genetics, 1 Moskvorechie Street, Moscow 115478, Russia
2Department of Cystic Fibrosis, Research Centre for Medical Genetics, 1 Moskvorechie Street, Moscow 115478, Russia

Copyright © 2001 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.


Background: The balance between tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and interleukin-10 (IL-10) is important for immune homeostasis maintenance. Exuberant production of TNF-α contributes to overwhelming inflammatory response and tissue damage. But, commonly, increase in TNF-α is counterbalanced by simultaneous synthesis of an anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10, which suppresses production of many activating and regulatory mediators.

Aims: In the present study, the relationships between TNF-α and IL-10 in the plasma of healthy schoolchildren and cystic fibrosis (CF) patients have been investigated.

Methods: Blood samples were obtained from 12 CF patients with chronic pulmonary disease and 18 healthy schoolchildren vaccinated with live attenuated rubella vaccine. IL-10 and TNF-α were determined in the plasma samples using commercially available enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay kits.

Results: Before vaccination, most healthy children (13 of 18) demonstrated superiority of pro-inflammatory TNF-α over anti-inflammatory IL-10 (TNF-α/IL-10 Â 1). In these subjects, a significant positive linear association between the cytokine values has been found. Vaccine challenge resulted in a marked reduction of TNF-α/IL-10 ratios. In addition, a disappearance of correlation between the cytokine values was observed. Such disturbance was related to exuberant elevation of the IL-10 levels after inoculation. On the contrary, in CF individuals, plasma cytokine values remained in strong linear association independently of TNF-α or IL-10 predominance. No spikes in the plasma levels of IL-10 in CF patients during a 6-month observation period have been revealed.

Conclusions: There were no fundamental differences between CF and healthy children in the regulation of TNF-α and IL-10 secretion. Thus, immune quiescence seemed to be associated with the predominance of TNF-α, whereas immune disturbance was characterized by IL-10 superiority. The only abnormality that was found in CF patients consisted of their inability to produce unlimitedly IL-10 in response to antigen stimuli.