Cytokines as Immunological Markers for Systemic Inflammation in Dogs with Pyometra

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Pyometra is a disease in dogs caused by bacterial infection of the uterus and resulting in SIRS (systemic inflammatory response syndrome) in nearly 6 of 10 cases. Clinical diagnostic criteria for SIRS are relatively unspecific, and biomarkers for the diagnosis of pyometra and SIRS in dogs are needed. Serum samples from 32 dogs were used in this study and grouped into dogs with pyometra and SIRS, dogs with pyometra without SIRS and healthy controls. The serum concentrations of IFN-γ, IL-4, IL-6, IL-7, IL-8, IL-10, IL-15, IL-18 and TNF-α were measured using multiplex analyses. The serum concentrations of CRP (C-reactive protein) were determined using sandwich ELISA. IL-7, IL-8, IL-15, IL-18 and TNF-α were detected in >94% of samples. IL-10 was detected in 28% of samples, and IL-4, IL-6 and IFN-γ were undetectable. Higher serum concentrations of IL-7 (p < 0.05) were detected in SIRS-positive dogs with pyometra (n = 13) as compared with healthy controls (n = 11). The concentrations of IL-8 were higher in SIRS-positive dogs with pyometra compared to the SIRS-negative group (n = 8; p < 0.05). Positive correlations of IL-15 with IL-18 (p < 0.0001) and with the concentrations of IL-7 (p < 0.0001 for both) were found, although there was no significant difference between groups. Furthermore, IL-15 correlated with concentrations of CRP (p < 0.05), which were higher in dogs with pyometra compared to controls (p < 0.0001). Our data suggest a role of several cytokines in the development of a systemic disease in dogs with pyometra and a possible diagnostic value for serum CRP, IL-7, IL-15 and IL-18 in canine SIRS caused by pyometra.

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