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The Expressions of Intracellular Cytokines in the Lymphocytes of Preeclamptic Patients


Dorota Darmochwal-Kolarz Department of Clinical Immunology, University School of Medicine, 20–950 Lublin, Jaczewskiego 8, Poland. E-mail:


Darmochwal-Kolarz D, Rolinski J, Leszczynska-Gorzelak B, Oleszczuk J. The expressions of intracellular cytokines in the lymphocytes of preeclamptic patients. AJRI 2002; 48:381–386 © Blackwell Munksgaard, 2002

PURPOSE: The objective of the study was to investigate the intracellular expressions of T helper 1 (Th1) and Th2 cytokines in peripheral blood T lymhocytes and natural killer (NK) cells of patients with preeclampsia and women with uncomplicated pregnancy.

METHOD OF STUDY: Blood samples were taken from 20 patients with preeclampsia and 16 healthy pregnant women. Mononuclear cells were isolated from peripheral blood and stimulated for 5 hr at 37°C and 5% CO2. Next, the cells were stained with antibodies against surface markers of T-cell subsets and NK cells. After fixation and permeabilization processes, the cells were stained with antibodies against intracellular cytokines – interleukin-2 (Il-2) and interferon-γ (IFN-γ) as well as Il-10 and Il-4. The intracellular expressions of Th1 and Th2 cytokines were determined using the flow cytometric method. Statistical analysis was performed using Mann–Whitney U-test.

RESULTS: We found that in patients with preeclampsia the expressions of Il-2 were significantly higher when compared with women with uncomplicated pregnancy. Furthermore, in the group of patients with preeclampsia the expressions of Il-2 were higher in T CD 8+ lymphocytes than in T CD4+ cells. The expressions of IFN-γ did not differ in CD4+ cells and CD8+ cells in both studied groups but they were higher in NK cells in the study group. The expressions of Il-10 were lower in lymphocytes of preeclamptic patients when compared with controls. The expressions of Il-4 did not differ in both studied groups.

CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that in patients with preeclampsia there is Th1/Th2 imbalance, with predominant Th1 immunity.