Background: Inflammatory cytokines may play an important role in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis and heart failure. We have previously demonstrated that long-term treatment with interleukin (IL)-1β in the coronary artery and myocardium promotes coronary arteriosclerosis and impairs cardiac function, respectively. The cytokines in pericardial fluid may reflect the extent of coronary atherosclerosis and may also directly promote the atherosclerotic process. This study was designed to examine the significance of cytokine concentrations in pericardial fluid of patients with cardiovascular disease. Methods: We measured concentrations of 10 major cytokines in the pericardial fluid of 56 consecutive patients obtained during open heart surgery, 27 with ischemic heart disease (IHD group), 21 with valvular heart disease (VHD group) and eight with congenital heart disease (CHD group). Results: The pericardial concentrations of IL-1β (pg/ml) were significantly higher in the IHD group (60 ± 15) than in the VHD (29 ± 5) or the CHD group (26 ± 4) (P < 0.05 both). There was no significant difference in pericardial concentrations of other cytokines among the three groups. In the IHD group, the IL-1β concentrations were significantly elevated in patients who had undergone emergency operations or in those with unstable angina. Conclusions: These results suggest that pericardial concentrations of IL-1β may reflect the extent of ischemic heart disease and that elevated IL-1β concentrations in pericardial fluid may also directly promote the process of coronary atherosclerosis.
- Ischemic heart disease
- Pericardial fluid
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine