Serum cytokines and critical illness-related corticosteroid insufficiency

Yong Soo Kwon, Gee Young Suh, Kyeongman Jeon, So Young Park, So Yeon Lim, Won Jung Koh, Man Pyo Chung, Hojoong Kim, O. Jung Kwon

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29 Scopus citations


Purpose: Little information exists regarding the association of specific cytokine levels and different subgroups of patients with critical illness-related corticosteroid insufficiency (CIRCI). Methods: Data from a previous prospective study on adrenal function in the ICU were used in this study. CIRCI was diagnosed when either the basal cortisol was less than 10 μg/ml or the D cortisol was less than 9 μg/ ml. The patients with CIRCI were further divided into a low basal cortisol (LBC) group (basal cortisol <10 μg/ml), and low D cortisol (LDC) group (basal cortisol C 10 μg/ml and D cortisol\9 μg/ml). Serum cytokine levels were compared among the normal (NOM), LBC, and LDC groups. Results: The serum of 82 out of 123 (67%) patients included in the previous study was available for analysis; these patients were included in the present study. The overall incidence of CIRCI was 43.9% (36 out of 82 patients). Among patients with CIRCI, 16 (44.4%) were classified as the LBC group and 20 (55.6%) as the LDC group. The LDC group had significantly higher levels of IL-6 and IL-10 compared to both the NOM and LBC groups (p<0.01). The LDC group also had significantly increased TNF-α (p = 0.002) compared to the LBC group. There were no significant differences in any of the cytokine levels between the NOM and LBC groups. Conclusions: Elevated cytokines were associated with adrenal dysfunction in a subset of patients meeting the criteria for CIRCI (normal or high basal cortisol and low D cortisol).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1845-1851
Number of pages7
JournalIntensive Care Medicine
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2010

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments This research was supported by Samsung Medical Center Clinical Research Development Program [Grant 2005-08-080].


  • Adrenal insufficiency
  • Critical illness
  • Cytokines
  • Diagnosis


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