Biomarkers : biochemical indicators of exposure, response, and susceptibility to chemicals

Analysis of inflammatory cytokines in human blood, breath condensate, and urine using a multiplex immunoassay platform.

PMID 25495125


A change in the expression of cytokines in human biological media indicates an inflammatory response to external stressors and reflects an early step along the adverse outcome pathway (AOP) for various health endpoints. To characterize and interpret this inflammatory response, methodology was developed for measuring a suite of 10 different cytokines in human blood, exhaled breath condensate (EBC), and urine using an electrochemiluminescent multiplex Th1/Th2 cytokine immunoassay platform. Measurement distributions and correlations for eight interleukins (IL) (1β, 2, 4, 5, 8, 10, 12p70 and 13), interferon-γ (IFN-γ), and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) were evaluated using 90 blood plasma, 77 EBC, and 400 urine samples collected from nominally healthy adults subjects in North Carolina in 2008-2012. The in vivo results show that there is sufficient sensitivity for characterizing all 10 cytokines at levels of 0.05-0.10 ρg/ml with a dynamic range up to 100 ng/ml across all three of these biological media. The measured in vivo results also show that the duplicate analysis of blood, EBC and urine samples have average estimated fold ranges of 2.21, 3.49, and 2.50, respectively, which are similar to the mean estimated fold range (2.88) for the lowest concentration (0.610 ρg/ml) from a series of spiked control samples; the cytokine method can be used for all three biological media. Nine out of the 10 cytokines measured in EBC were highly correlated within one another with Spearman ρ coefficients ranging from 0.679 to 0.852, while the cytokines measured in blood had a mix of negative and positive correlations, ranging from -0.620 to 0.836. Almost all correlations between EBC and blood were positive. This work also represents the first successful within- and between-person evaluation of ultra trace-level inflammatory markers in blood, EBC, and urine.