Cytokine Profile in Gout: Inflammation Driven by IL-6 and IL-18?
Introduction: Gout is considered to be an autoinflammatory disease and the presence of monosodium urate (MSU) crystals stimulates activation of NPRL3 inflammasome and subsequently caspase-1, generating production of active IL-1β and IL-18. However, the association between serum cytokines levels and clinical manifestations of the disease is not yet well understood. We evaluated the serum profile of proinflammatory cytokines (IL-1β, IL-6, IL-8, IL-17A, IL-18, IL-22, and IL-23) and described their relationship with clinical and laboratory data.
Methodology: Thirty-nine male patients with gout (GG) were assessed for clinical and laboratory variables and cytokine levels were measured by ELISA. For the purposes of comparison, 34 males with no previous history of arthritis were also included in the study (CG).
Results: Seventeen participants (43%) exhibited active arthritis on evaluation. Levels of IL-18 were significantly higher in patients in relation to the CG (p = 0.0013). No statistically significant differences were found between the GG and CG for the other measured cytokines. There was a moderate correlation between IL-18 and ESR (R = 0.43, p = 0.0073), CRP (R = 0.47, p = 0.0025), and serum levels of IL-6 (R = 0.36, p = 0.023). An association was observed between serum levels of IL-6 and the presence of tophi (p = 0.005) and deformities (p = 0.0008), as well as a correlation between this cytokine and ESR (R = 0.41, p = 0.011) and CRP (R = 0.48, p = 0.02).
Conclusions: IL-18 is associated with inflammatory activity in gout, as well as with IL-6 levels, while IL-6 is associated with clinical and laboratory activity, the presence of tophi and articular deformities, and may be a prognostic marker of this pathology.