BAL cytokine profile in different interstitial lung diseases: A focus on systemic sclerosis

Federica Meloni, Roberto Caporali, Alessia Marone Bianco, Enrica Paschetto, Monica Morosini, Anna Maria Fietta, Vitulo Patrizio, Francesca Bobbio-Pallavicini, Ernesto Pozzi, Carlomaurizio Montecucco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and aim: Fibrosing alveolitis develops in up to 80% of systemic sclerosis patients (SSc) but progression to end stage fibrosis occurs in about 15% of cases. Mechanisms leading to the process remain mostly unknown. We compared cytokine profiles of broncho-alveolar lavage fluids (BAL-f) from patients with SSc associated interstitial lung disease (SSc-ILD) (n. 34), idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) (n. 13), stage II sarcoidosis (n. 14) and 9 controls. Methods: Interleukin (IL) 8, monocyte chemoattractant protein 1 (MCP-1), gamma-interferon (IFN-γ), IL 12, IL 18 and IL 10 and transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β) were assessed by ELISA in concentrated BAL-f. Results: Levels of IL8 and MCP-1 were significantly elevated in SSc-ILD and in IPF as compared with controls (Mann Whitney test p <0.05), while MCP-1 values were significantly lower in SSc-ILD than in IPF. A significant correlation between neutrophils and IL8 levels (p = 0.047), as well as between eosinophils and MCP-1 levels (p = 0.004) was also observed. IFN-γ levels were slightly higher than normal only in sarcoidosis (p = 0.06), whereas IL12 levels increased both in sarcoidosis and SSc-ILD (p <0.05). No differences were found in IL18 and TGF-β levels. Finally, IL10 levels were higher in SSc-ILD and sarcoidosis than in controls and IPF (p <0.05). Conclusion: BAL-f cytokine profile differentiates ILD associated with SSc from IPF. The lower expression of MCP-1 and the higher expression of the anti-fibrotic IL12 and the anti-inflammatory IL10, observed both in sarcoidosis and in SSc-ILD, could account for the better prognosis of these ILDs. Further longitudinal studies are required to confirm whether a different cytokine phenotype may be considered predictive of clinical outcome in SSc-ILD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-118
Number of pages8
JournalSarcoidosis Vasculitis and Diffuse Lung Diseases
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2004


  • BAL-fluid
  • Cytokines
  • Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis
  • Interstitial lung disease
  • Sarcoidosis
  • Systemic sclerosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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