Cytokine and complement levels in patients undergoing cardiopulmonary bypass

J. B. Steinberg, D. P. Kapelanski, J. D. Olson, J. M. Weiler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

265 Scopus citations


Patients undergoing cardiopulmonary bypass are known to develop whole body inflammation that often results in a characteristic syndrome early postoperatively. This phenomenon has been attributed to complement activation caused by exposure of blood to the foreign surfaces of the cardiopulmonary bypass circuit. It has been unknown if cytokines are involved. Plasma levels of complement activation products (C3a, C4a, C5a, and C5b-9), interleukins (IL-1β, IL-2, IL-4, and IL-6), and tumor necrosis factor-α were measured at multiple time points before, during, and after cardiopulmonary bypass in 29 patients. No significant increase over preinduction levels was seen in the cytokines except for IL-6, which was significantly increased during cardiopulmonary bypass (p < 0.001), reaching a maximum 3 hours after cardiopulmonary bypass. C3a, C4a, and C5b-9 levels were significantly elevated during cardiopulmonary bypass (p < 0.001), with maximum C5b-9 levels preceding the IL-6 elevation. Heparin coating of the cardiopulmonary bypass circuit was not demonstrated to have an effect on activation of complement or cytokine production. There was no statistically significant correlation among hemodynamic variables or pulmonary function and complement, interleukin, or tumor necrosis factor-α levels. These results confirm the presence of complement activation and demonstrate the production of IL-6 after the generation of C5b-9 in patients undergoing cardiopulmonary bypass. IL-6 may contribute to adverse systemic reactions associated with cardiopulmonary bypass.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1008-1016
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1993
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Cytokine and complement levels in patients undergoing cardiopulmonary bypass'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this