Background/Purpose: In light of the neonate's increased susceptibility to systemic infection, the authors hypothesized that adult and fetal monocytes have different cytokine expression profiles in response to lipopolysaccharide (LPS), and interleukin (IL)-11, a counter-inflammatory cytokine. Methods: Samples of cord blood (n = 30) and adult blood (n = 30) were obtained and treated as follows: control (baseline expression), LPS exposure, and IL-11 or IL-11+LPS exposure. After incubation with a protein transport inhibitor, mononuclear cells were stained for intracellular tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, IL-1β, IL-6, and IL-8. Each sample was then analyzed by flow cytometry for cytokine expression. Cytokine production was measured by the percent positive as well as the fluorescence index for each cytokine. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) and Students t tests were used for statistical analysis. Results: Baseline levels of IL-8 were significantly higher for fetal monocytes (P < .0001). After LPS exposure, fetal monocytes produced less TNF-α (P = .0105) and more IL-8 (P < .0007) relative to adult cells. IL-11 treatment reduced baseline production of IL-8 in fetal and adult monocytes (P < .05). Conclusions: These results suggest that neonatal monocytes portray a different cytokine expression profile compared with adult monocytes. IL-11 treatment appears to alter the IL-8 expression of resting fetal and adult monocytes.
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