Increased concentrations of tumor necrosis factor and interleukin-6 contribute to the hemostatic abnormalities in advanced liver disease
Abnormal cytokine levels have been described in patients with chronic liver disease, but studies correlating cytokine homeostasis with abnormalities in coagulation and fibrinolysis are lacking. In order to establish a link between cytokines and the hemostatic changes the following parameters were determined in 44 patients with cirrhosis (alcoholic = 15, postnecrotic = 22, others = 7): TNF-alpha, IL-6, thrombin-antithrombin (TAT) complexes, prothrombin fragment 1 + 2 (F1 + 2) and t-PA by using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays, and PAI-1, plasminogen and alpha 2-antiplasmin (alpha 2-AP) by using chromogenic substrates. All patients were at stages B and C of Child's classification when entering the study.
Mean cytokine concentrations were significantly higher in cirrhotic patients as compared to age- and sex-matched controls (p < 0.009). There was a significant increase of TAT (p < 0.02) and F1 + 2 (p < 0.001) in the patients groups, suggesting a grade of intravascular coagulation. A hyperfibrinolytic state as demonstrated by an increase of t-PA and decrease of plasminogen and alpha 2-AP was also observed (p < 0.001). We could define a subgroup of patients with cytokine values higher than 20 pg/ml. Interestingly, in this group there was a significant increase of TAT (p < 0.04) and t-PA (p < 0.02) levels and a decrease of plasminogen and alpha 2-AP (p < 0.02) as compared to values observed in patients with cytokines lower than 20 pg/ml.
We conclude that high levels of TNF-alpha and IL-6 may contribute to hyperfibrinolysis and intravascular coagulation in patients with liver cirrhosis, as assessed by the increase of TAT and t-PA levels and the reduction of plasminogen and alpha 2-AP.
CITATION Haemostasis. 1995 Nov-Dec;25(6):305-11