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The presence of autoimmune thyroiditis in mixed cryoglobulinemia patients is associated with high levels of circulating Interleukin-6, but not of tumor necrosis factor-alpha

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2011 Vol.29, N°1 ,Suppl.64
PI 0017, PF 0022
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PMID: 21385538 [PubMed]

Received: 29/04/2010
Accepted : 13/09/2010
In Press: 11/05/2011
Published: 11/05/2011


To our knowledge, no study has evaluated serum levels of interleukin-6 (IL-6), together with tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α), in a large series of patients with `mixed cryoglobulinemia and HCV chronic infection` (MC+HCV) in relation to the presence of autoimmune thyroiditis (AT). The aims of the study were to evaluate serum levels of IL-6 in MC+HCV patients and to correlate this parameter with the presence of AT and with circulating levels of TNF-α.
Serum IL-6 and TNF-α were assayed in 41 MC+HCV patients, in 41 MC+HCV patients with autoimmune thyroiditis (MC+AT), in 41 sex- and age-matched controls, and 20 AT patients.
MC+HCV patients showed significantly (p<0.01; Mann-Whitney U-test) higher IL-6 (median 8.1ng/l, range 0.7–651) serum levels than controls (median 0.6ng/l, range 0.5–41), or AT (median 2.8ng/l, range 0.5–67). MC+AT showed significantly (p<0.01; Mann-Whitney U-test) higher mean IL-6 (median 15.8ng/l, range 0.5–781) than controls, AT and MC+HCV. Serum TNF-α levels were significantly higher in MC+HCV (median 9.9ng/l, range 1.5–283) or MC+AT (median 11.2ng/l, range 1.6–412) than in controls (median 1.0ng/l, range 0.6–6.4), or AT (median 1.7ng/l, range 0.6–11.8) (p<0.01, for each comparison).
Our study demonstrates significantly higher serum levels of IL-6 and TNF-α in patients with MC+HCV and MC+AT compared to healthy controls. Furthermore, the study first shows a significant increase in circulating IL-6 observed in MC+AT patients with respect to MC+HCV. Future studies in larger patients` series will be needed to evaluate the relevance of serum IL-6 and TNF-α determination as clinico-prognostic markers of MC+HCV patients and its usefulness in the therapeutic approach to these patients.

Rheumatology Article