Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Elevated serum interleukin-6 levels in patients with acute hepatitis

  • 28 Accesses

  • 34 Citations


To study the mechanisms of hepatocyte injury, we examined serum interleukin-6 (IL-6) level in acute hepatitis patients. Based on their clinical features, these patients were divided into three groups, acute hepatitis (AH), severe acute hepatitis, and fulminant hepatic failure (FHF). The present study demonstrated that, in association with their clinical status, their serum IL-6 levels were gradually increased (16.5±14.5 pg/ml in AH, 26.3±19.0 pg/ml in severe AH, and 470.2±261.4 pg/ml in FHF; control level, 5.2±0.6 pg/ml). Furthermore, we found that a significant correlation between serum IL-6 level and prothrombin time existed in these patients and that the elevated serum IL-6 returned to a normal range after recovery from their hepatocyte injury. Thus, our study demonstrates that the serum IL-6 level is a possible marker for identifying the clinical status in acute hepatitis and that this cytokine may have some roles in hepatocyte injury.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. 1.

    Büschenfelde K-HMZ, Manns M: Mechanisms of autoimmune liver disease. Semin Liver Dis 4:26–35, 1984

  2. 2.

    Van Hattum J, Van Oudenaren A, Schalm SW, Visser JWM, Benner R: T-lymphocyte subpopulation in patients with various courses after hepatitis B virus infection. Scand J Gastroenterol 19:497–501, 1984

  3. 3.

    Hodgson HJ, Wands JR, Isselbacher KJ: Alteration in suppressor cell activity in active chronic hepatitis. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 75:1549–1551, 1978

  4. 4.

    Thestrup-Peterson K, Ladefoged K, Andresen L: Lymphocyte transformation test with liver specific protein and phytohemagglutinin in patients with liver disease. Clin Exp Immunol 24:1–7, 1976

  5. 5.

    Wands JR, Perrotto JL, Alpert E, Isselbacher KJ: Cellmediated immunity in acute and chronic hepatitis. J Clin Invest 55:921–929, 1975

  6. 6.

    Thomson AD, Cochrane MA, McFarlane IG, Eddleston AL, Williams R: Lymphocyte cytotoxicity to isolated hepatocyte in chronic active hepatitis. Nature 252:721–722, 1974

  7. 7.

    Thomas HC, Brown D, LaBrooy J, Epstein O: T cell subsets in autoimmune and HBV-induced chronic liver disease. A review of the abnormalities and the effects of treatment. Liver 2:266–269, 1982

  8. 8.

    Carella G, Chatenoud L, Degos F, Bach MA: Regulatory T cell subset imbalance in chronic active hepatitis. J Clin Immunol 2:93–100, 1982

  9. 9.

    Hasegawa K, Yamauchi K, Furukawa T, Obata H: Dual color fluorescence analysis of peripheral T cell subsets in hepatitis B virus-induced liver disease. Hepatology 8:1134–1137, 1988

  10. 10.

    Kishimoto T: Factors affecting B cell growth and differentiation. Annu Rev Immunol 3:133–157, 1985

  11. 11.

    Hirano T, Taga T, Yasukawa K, Nakajima K, Nakano N, Takatsuki F, Shimizu M,et al.: Human B-cell differentiation factor defined by an anti-peptide antibody and its possible role in autoantibody production. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 84:228–231, 1987

  12. 12.

    Hirano T, Matsuda T, Turner M, Miyasaka N, Buchan G, Tang B, Sato K,et al.: Excessive production of interleukin-6/ B cell stimulatory factor-2 in rheumatoid arthritis. Eur J Immunol 18:1797–1801, 1988

  13. 13.

    Kawano M, Hirano T, Matsuda T, Taga T, Horii Y, Iwata K, Asaoku H,et al.: Autocrine generation and requirement of BSF-2/IL-6 for human multiple myelomas. Nature 332:83–85, 1988

  14. 14.

    Yoshizaki K, Matsuda T, Nishimoto N, Kuritani T, Taeho L, Aozasa K, Nakahata T,et al.: Pathogenic significance of interleukin-6 (IL-6/BSF-2) in castleman's disease. Blood 74:1360–1367, 1989

  15. 15.

    Muto Y, Nouri-Aria KT, Meager A, Alexander GJM, Eddleston AL, Williams R: Enhanced tumor necrosis factor and interleukin-1 in fulminant hepatic failure. Lancet 9:72–74, 1988

  16. 16.

    Trey C, Davidson C: The management of fulminant hepatic failure. Prog Liver Dis 3:282–298, 1970

  17. 17.

    Muraguchi A, Kishimoto T, Miki Y, Kuritani T, Kaieda T, Yoshizaki K, Yamamura Y: T cell-replacing factor (TRF) induced IgG secretion in a human B blastoid cell line and demonstration of acceptors for TRF. J Immunol 127:412–416, 1981

  18. 18.

    Hirano T, Yasukawa K, Harada H, Taga T, Watanabe Y, Matsuda T, Kashiwamura S,et al.: Complementary DNA for a novel human interleukin (BSF-2) that induces B lymphocytes to produce immunoglobulin. Nature 324:73–76, 1986

  19. 19.

    Bot FJ, Eijk L, Broeders L, Aarden LA, Löwenberg B: Interleukin-6 synergizes with M-CSF in the formation of macrophage colonies from purified human marrow progenitor cells. Blood 73:435–437, 1989

  20. 20.

    Satoh T, Nakamura S, Taga T, Matsuda T, Hirano T, Kishimoto T, Kaziro Y: Induction of neuronal differentiation in PC12 cells by B-cell stimulatory factor 2/interleukin-6. Mol Cell Biol 8:3546–3549, 1988

  21. 21.

    Van Damme J, Opdenakker G, Simpson RJ, Rubira MR, Cayphas S, Vink A, Billiau A,et al.: Identification of the human 26-KD protein. Interferon β2 (IFN-β2), as a B cell hybridoma/plasmacytoma growth factor induced by interleukin 1 and tumor necrosis factor. J Exp Med 165:914–919, 1987

  22. 22.

    Gauldie J, Richards C, Harnish D, Lansdorp P, Baumann H: Interferon β2/B cell stimulatory factor type 2 shares identity with monocyte-derived hepatocyte-stimulating factor and regulates the major acute phase protein response in liver cells. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 84:7251–7255, 1987

  23. 23.

    Defilippi P, Poupart P, Tavernier J, Fiers W, Content J: Induction and regulation of mRNA encoding 26-KDa protein in human cell lines treated with recombinant human tumor necrosis factor. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 84:4557–4561, 1987

Download references

Author information

Correspondence to Katsumi Yamauchi.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Sun, Y., Tokushige, K., Isono, E. et al. Elevated serum interleukin-6 levels in patients with acute hepatitis. J Clin Immunol 12, 197–200 (1992). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00918089

Download citation

Key words

  • Interleukin-6
  • acute hepatitis
  • hepatocyte injury
  • fulminant hepatic failure
  • prothrombin time