Background: Neuroinflammation has been implicated in the pathophysiology of post-hemorrhagic hydrocephalus (PHH) of prematurity, but no comprehensive analysis of signaling molecules has been performed using human cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). Methods: Lumbar CSF levels of key cytokines (IL-1α, IL-1β, IL-4, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, IL-12, TNF-α, TGF-β1, IFN-γ) and chemokines (XCL-1, CCL-2, CCL-3, CCL-19, CXCL-10, CXCL-11, CXCL-12) were measured using conventional and multiplexed Enzyme-linked Immunosorbent Assays and compared between preterm infants with PHH and those with no known neurological injury. The relationships between individual biomarker levels and specific CSF cell counts were examined. Results: Total protein (TP) CSF levels were elevated in the PHH subjects compared to controls. CSF levels of IL-1α, IL-4, IL-6, IL-12, TNF-α, CCL-3, CCL-19, and CXCL-10 were significantly increased in PHH whereas XCL-1 was significantly decreased in PHH. When normalizing by TP, IL-1α, IL-1β, IL-10, IL-12, CCL-3, and CCL-19 levels were significantly elevated compared to controls, while XCL-1 levels remained significantly decreased. Among those with significantly different levels in both absolute and normalized levels, only absolute CCL-19 levels showed a significant correlation with CSF nucleated cells, neutrophils, and lymphocytes. IL-1β and CXCL-10 also were correlated with total cell count, nucleated cells, red blood cells, and neutrophils. Conclusions: Neuroinflammation is likely to be an important process in the pathophysiology of PHH. To our knowledge, this is the first study to investigate CSF levels of chemokines in PHH as well as the only one to show XCL-1 selectively decreased in a diseased state. Additionally, CCL-19 was the only analyte studied that showed significant differences between groups and had significant correlation with cell count analysis. The selectivity of CCL-19 and XCL-1 should be further investigated. Future studies will further delineate the role of these cytokines and chemokines in PHH.
- Cerebrospinal fluid