Am J Perinatol 2008; 25(10): 629-636
DOI: 10.1055/s-0028-1090585
© Thieme Medical Publishers

Utility of Interleukin-12 and Interleukin-10 in Comparison with Other Cytokines and Acute-Phase Reactants in the Diagnosis of Neonatal Sepsis

Catherine Sherwin1 , Roland Broadbent1 , Sarah Young2 , Janie Worth3 , Frances McCaffrey4 , Natalie J. Medlicott5 , David Reith1
  • 1Department of Women's and Children's Health, Dunedin School of Medicine, Dunedin, New Zealand
  • 2Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Dunedin, New Zealand
  • 3Otago District Health Board, Dunedin, New Zealand
  • 4NICU, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand
  • 5School of Pharmacy, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
10 October 2008 (online)


We compared the test characteristics of interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, IL-12(p-70), tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), procalcitonin (PCT), C-reactive protein (CRP), and full blood count (FBC) in the diagnosis of neonatal sepsis. This prospective cohort study in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit of Dunedin hospital of patients between July 1, 2002 and February 28, 2007 included 117 neonates commenced on antibiotics for 164 episodes of suspected sepsis. Blood cultures, FBC, CRP, IL-1β, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, IL-12(p-70), TNF-α, and PCT were obtained at the time sepsis was first suspected and for the following 3 days. Receiver operator characteristics (ROC) plots and test characteristics were determined using culture-positive sepsis as the gold standard. At the time sepsis was first suspected, the most promising individual test was IL-12(p70) with an area under the curve (95% confidence interval [CI]) for the ROC of 0.74 (0.63 to 0.86), which (with a cutoff at 75 pg/mL) had a sensitivity (95% CI) of 28% (20 to 36%) and a specificity of 98% (96 to 100%). IL-10 had a sensitivity of 17% (10 to 23%) and a specificity of 99% (97 to 100%). IL-10 and IL-12(p70) are promising diagnostic tests that can be used to confirm sepsis in neonates.


David Reith, M.B.B.S. , F.R.A.C.P. , Ph.D. 

Associate Professor, Dunedin School of Medicine, University of Otago

P.O. Box 913, Dunedin, New Zealand

Email: [email protected]