A distinct pattern of cytokine production from blood mononuclear cells in multitransfused patients with β-thalassaemia

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The unstimulated and induced production of granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF), granulocyte colony-stimulating factor(G-CSF), IL-3, IL-6, stem cell factor (SCF), IL-1β, tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α), TNF-β, interferon-gamma (IFN-γ) and transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β) was determined after culture of blood mononuclear cells from 22 patients with severe β-thalassaemia in a regular transfusion programme, five non-regularly transfused patients withβ-thalassaemia intermedia and nine normal persons. A distinct pattern of cytokine production in thalassaemic patients was detected, namely a low unstimulated production of all cytokines and a significant increase in the stimulated production of IFN-γ, TNF-α and IL-1β; these abnormalities were more pronounced in the more heavily transfused older patients. The increased production of the above cytokines, which usually characterize the acute response to infectious agents and have a negative effect on erythropoiesis, may explain the deterioration of anaemia found in thalassaemic patients during acute infections.

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