Procalcitonin, and cytokines document a dynamic inflammatory state in non-infected cirrhotic patients with ascites

Bashar M. Attar, Christopher M. Moore, Magdalena George, Nicolae Ion-Nedelcu, Rafael Turbay, Annamma Zachariah, Guiliano Ramadori, Jawed Fareed, David H. Van Thiel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Aim: To quantitate the simultaneous serum and ascitic fluid levels of procalcitonin and inflammatory markers in cirrhotics with and without ascites. Methods: A total of 88 consecutive severe cirrhotic patients seen in a large city hospital liver clinic were studied and divided into two groups, those with and without ascites. Group 1 consisted of 41 cirrhotic patients with massive ascites, as demonstrated by necessity for therapeutic large-volume paracentesis. Group 2 consisted of 47 cirrhotic patients without any clinically documented ascites to include either a recent abdominal computed tomography scan or ultrasound study. Serum and ascitic fluid levels of an array of inflammatory markers, including procalcitonin, were measured and compared to each other and a normal plasma panel (NPP). Results: The values for inflammatory markers assayed in the serum of Groups 1 and 2, and ascitic fluid of the Group 1. The plasma levels of the inflammatory cytokines interleukin (IL)-2, IL-4, IL-6, IL-8, interferon gamma (IFNγ) and epidermal growth factor (EGF) were all significantly greater in the serum of Group 1 as compared to that of the serum obtained from the Group 2 subjects (all P < 0.05). There were significantly greater serum levels of IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, monocyte chemoattractant protein-1, tumor necrosis factor-α, vascular endothelial growth factor and EGF when comparing Group 2 to the NPP. There was no significant difference for IL-1A, IL-1B, IL-2, IL-4 and IFNγ levels between these two groups. Serum procalcitonin levels were increased in cirrhotics with ascites compared to cirrhotics without ascites, but serum levels were similar to ascites levels within the ascites group. Furthermore, many of these cytokines, but not procalcitonin, demonstrate an ascites-to-serum gradient. Serum procalcitonin does not demonstrate any significant difference segregated by liver etiology in the ascites group; but ascitic fluid procalcitonin is elevated significantly in cardiac cirrhosis/miscellaneous subgroup compared to the hepatitis C virus and alcoholic cirrhosis subgroups. Conclusion: Procalcitonin in the ascitic fluid, but not in the serum, differentiates between cirrhotic subgroup reflecting the dynamic interplay of ascites, bacterial translocation and the peri-peritoneal cytokine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2374-2382
Number of pages9
JournalWorld Journal of Gastroenterology
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2014


  • Ascites
  • Bacterial translocation
  • Cirrhosis
  • Inflammatory markers
  • Procalcitonin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology

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