Backround & Aim: Immunoparesis contributes to prognosis in acute liver failure (ALF) and decompensated cirrhosis, a phenomenon thought to be mediated by the anti-inflammatory cytokine interleukin (IL)-10. We investigated the prognostic value of admission IL-10 levels and their evolution during the early phase of treatment in intensive care, in comparison to the pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-6 and tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-α.
Methods: We measured these cytokines within 48 h of admission in 51 ALF and 39 decompensated cirrhosis patients admitted to intensive care, and obtained follow-up measurement a median of 2 days later in 35 patients.
Results: Levels of all cytokines were higher in those with a poor outcome. IL-10 performed as well as TNF-α and IL-6 in the whole cohort (area under receiver operator curve 0.73 vs 0.66 and 0.72). However IL-10 outperfomed pro-inflammatory cytokines in the subgroups with ALF (0.80 vs 0.63 and 0.70) and acetaminophen-induced ALF (0.92 vs 0.67 and 0.81). Levels of all cytokines rose significantly in non-surviving patients (n=15); IL-10 by a factor of 2, TNF-α by 2.6 and IL-6 by 1.13. No significant changes were seen in the surviving patients. In ALF, IL-10 was an independent predictor of outcome in multivariate analysis.
Conclusion: The magnitude of the compensatory anti-inflammatory response at admission, and its development during the early phase of treatment, predicts outcome as well as the pro-inflammatory response in acute hepatic syndromes and supports a vital role for this immunological phenomenon in the outcome of these patients.