Increased levels of interleukin-18 in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid of patients with idiopathic nonspecific interstitial pneumonia.Respiration. 2005 Jan-Feb; 72(1):39-45.R
Interleukin-18 (IL-18) is a proinflammatory cytokine that can induce interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma), and it plays an important role in T-helper 1 responses. Among idiopathic interstitial pneumonia (IIP), nonspecific interstitial pneumonia (NSIP) has an increased number of lymphocytes in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid compared with usual interstitial pneumonia (UIP). However, the difference in their pathogenesis is unclear.
The present study aims to investigate the roles of IL-18 in patients with idiopathic UIP and idiopathic NSIP.
We measured the serum and BAL fluid (BALF) levels of IL-18 and IFN-gamma in 22 patients with IIP (12 with UIP, 10 with NSIP) and 9 healthy volunteers.
Lymphocyte proportions in BALF were significantly higher in NSIP than in UIP and healthy subjects. No significant differences were observed in the serum IL-18 levels of all subjects, while the BALF levels of IL-18 in patients with NSIP were significantly higher than in patients with UIP (p < 0.005) and in healthy subjects (p < 0.005). Among all subjects, the levels of IL-18 in BALF correlated significantly with those in serum and the lymphocyte proportions in BALF. The serum IFN-gamma levels of all subjects were below sensitivity, but there was significant reverse correlation between the levels of IFN-gamma and the lymphocyte proportions in BALF.
The lymphocytosis in BALF of patients with idiopathic NSIP and a part of idiopathic UIP might be associated with the high levels of IL-18.