Serum interleukin-18 and soluble tumour necrosis factor receptor 2 are associated with disease severity in patients with paracoccidioidomycosis


Maria Heloisa S. L. Blotta, Department of Clinical Pathology, Faculty of Medical Sciences, State University of Campinas (UNICAMP), PO Box 6111, 13083–970 Campinas, SP, Brazil.


Interleukin (IL)-18 is a proinflammatory cytokine of the IL-1 superfamily that exhibits broad functional effects in innate and acquired immune responses and which has been found in high levels in several chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. Over-expression of IL-18 may promote early resolution of infection or could promote a detrimental exaggerated immune response. The aim of this study was to determine serum levels of IL-18 and other inflammatory mediators [IL-12, soluble intercellular adhesion molecule 1 (sICAM-1), soluble tumour necrosis factor receptor 1 (TNF-RI), sTNF-RII, CXC chemokine ligand 9 (CXCL9), CXCL10] at baseline and after anti-fungal therapy in serum from patients with juvenile (JF) and adult (AF) forms of paracoccidioidomycosis (PCM), as well as in healthy controls (C), and to assess their possible relationships to the severity of disease. IL-18 and sTNF-RII levels in patients with the JF of PCM were significantly higher than those in the AF and controls. In relation to sICAM-1, no difference was observed between JF and AF patients but both presented higher levels than controls. sTNF-RI levels were higher in patients with PCM than in controls, and significantly higher concentrations were detected in AF patients compared to JF patients. Moreover, IL-12 and chemokines CXCL9 and CXCL10 were also higher in patients than in controls. In JF patients IL-18 levels correlated significantly with sICAM-1 (= 0·62, P < 0·0001), sTNF-RI (= 0·63, P < 0·0001), sTNF-RII (= 0·51, = 0·02), as well as with clinical severity. The results suggest the value of serum IL-18 and sTNF-Rs levels as a parameter of PCM severity and may support a possible role for them in the pathogenesis of the disease.