Fetal distress increases interleukin-6 and interleukin-8 and decreases tumour necrosis factor-α cord blood levels in noninfected full-term neonates


Correspondence: Dr M. Jokie, Service de Néonatologie, CHU Clemenceau, Caen, 14033 Caen Cedex, France.


Objective To assess the influence of fetal distress on interleukin-1β, interleukin-6, interleukin-8 and on tumour necrosis factor-α blood levels in noninfected full-term neonates.

Study design In a multicentre prospective study, cord blood samples were obtained at time of delivery from 234 noninfected full-term neonates for the purposes of measuring serum levels of interleukin-1β, interleukin-6, interleukin-8 and tumour necrosis factor-α using immunoassays. Women were classified into four groups according to the mode of delivery (vaginal delivery or caesarean section) and the presence or absence of fetal distress. The role of labour was also investigated.

Results No significant relationship was found between cytokine cord blood levels and the mode of delivery. Fetal distress was associated with an increase in interleukin-6 (P= 0.01) and interleukin-8 (P < 0.001) levels, and a decrease in tumour necrosis factor-α (P < 0.001). Labour was also associated with a significant increase in interleukin-6 and interleukin-8 cord blood levels (P= 0.01 and P < 0.001, respectively).

Conclusion Fetal distress and labour were each associated with elevated interleukin-6 and interleukin-8 cord blood levels in noninfected full term neonates while only fetal distress was associated with decreased tumour necrosis factor-α levels.