Sarcoidosis, a systemic granulomatous disease of unknown etiology, is characterized by a predominantly Th1 cytokine milieu, which is involved in its immunopathogenesis. The role of novel immunologic markers reflecting T cell activity of the sarcoid immunologic response needs to be determined. The present study aims to evaluate the role of the Th1 cytokine pattern by estimating the local and systemic levels of interleukin-12 (IL-12) and IL-18 in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF), induced sputum, and serum of patients with pulmonary sarcoidosis. We studied prospectively 20 patients (12 women, 8 men) of median age 46 years (range 25-65) with sarcoidosis and 10 normal subjects (5 women, 5 men) of median age 39 years (range 26-60). IL-12 and IL-18 levels were measured using ELISA kits. The IL-12 BALF levels were significantly higher in sarcoidosis patients than in healthy subjects (5.64 +/- 0.21 pg/mL vs. 5.16 +/- 0.15 pg/mL, p < 0.001). In addition, IL-18 levels were significantly increased in BALF samples (47.69 +/- 6.29 pg/mL vs. 16.73 +/- 3.00 pg/mL, p < 0.001). A statistically significant decrease in IL-12 serum levels was detected in the sarcoid population compared with controls (5.77 +/- 0.50 pg/mL vs. 7.87 +/- 2.00 pg/mL, p < 0.001). No significant differences were detected in IL-12 and IL-18 levels between patients and controls in induced sputum samples. Our data suggest a potential role of IL-12 and IL-18 in the local immunologic response in pulmonary sarcoidosis. Further large-scale studies are needed to define the precise role of IL-12 and IL-18 in the immunopathogenesis of this disorder.