Serum concentration of IL-18 correlates with disease extent in young children with atopic dermatitis.

Research paper by Kam Lun Ellis KL Hon, Ting Fan TF Leung, Kwok Chiu KC Ma, Chun Kwok CK Wong, Helene H Wan, Christopher W K CW Lam

Indexed on: 04 Dec '04Published on: 04 Dec '04Published in: Pediatric Dermatology


Interleukin (IL)-18 is a pleiotropic cytokine that plays an important role in both type 1 (Th1) and type 2 (Th2) helper T lymphocyte-mediated immunity. Previous studies have suggested that IL-18 may be an inflammatory marker for atopic dermatitis (AD). The purpose of our study was to test whether the serum concentration of IL-18 is a useful inflammatory marker for assessing AD severity in young children. Nineteen AD patients with a median age of 2.2 years (interquartile range 0.7-4.6 years) were recruited. The severity of AD was clinically determined using the Scoring Atopic Dermatitis (SCORAD) index. Their SCORAD score was 23.9 (range 18.6-34.8). Serum IL-18 levels were determined by sandwich enzyme immunoassay. The median serum concentration of IL-18 was 394 pg/ml (interquartile range 204-612 pg/ml). Serum IL-18 levels correlated with SCORAD scores (r = 0.502, p = 0.029) and their extent component (r = 0.633, p = 0.004). When compared with mild disease with low SCORAD scores, the serum concentration in moderate to severe disease was significantly higher (p = 0.014). We concluded that serum IL-18 concentration is elevated in young children with AD. It may be a useful inflammatory marker that correlates with the extent component of AD in particular, and differentiates mild disease from more severe disease when used for assessing AD severity in young children.