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Comparison of Inflammatory Cytokine Levels in Hepatic and Jugular Veins of Patients with Cirrhosis.

BACKGROUND: Systemic inflammation with elevated inflammatory cytokines is a hallmark in patients with cirrhosis and the main driver of decompensation. There is insufficient data on whether inflammatory cytokine levels differ between hepatic and jugular veins, which may have implications for further immunological studies.

METHODS: Blood from the hepatic and jugular veins of 40 patients with cirrhosis was collected during hepatic venous pressure gradient (HVPG) measurements. Serum levels of 13 inflammatory cytokines (IL-1 β , Int- α 2, Int- γ , TNF- α , MCP-1, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, IL-12p70, IL-17A, IL-18, IL-23, and IL-33) were quantified by cytometric bead array.

RESULTS: Cytokine levels of IFN- α 2, IFN- γ , TNF- α , IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, IL-17A, IL-18, IL-23, and IL-33 were significantly elevated in patients with decompensated cirrhosis compared to patients with compensated cirrhosis. When comparing patients with clinically significant portal hypertension (CSPH, HVPG ≥ 10 mmHg) to patients without CSPH, there were significantly enhanced serum levels of IL-6 and IL-18 in the former group. There was no significant difference between cytokine serum levels between blood obtained from the jugular versus hepatic veins. Even in subgroup analyses stratified for an early cirrhosis stage (Child-Pugh (CP) A) or more decompensated stages (CP B/C), cytokine levels were similar.

CONCLUSION: Cytokine levels increase with decompensation and increasing portal hypertension in patients with cirrhosis. There is no relevant difference in cytokine levels between hepatic and jugular blood in patients with cirrhosis.

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