Lack of NK cells and related cytokines in pleural effusion

Yuh Min Chen, Jacqueline Whang-Peng, Wen Kuang Yang, Yi Mei Hung, Wen Chang Lin, Benjamin Ing Tiau Kuo, Reury Perng Perng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Background. Relatively low number and activity of natural-killer (NK) cells have been reported in malignant pleural effusions. However, there has been no report on NK cells related cytokines. Methods. Lymphocyte subpopulations were studied in 30 cases of pleural effusion with various etiologies, along with peripheral blood, by using flow cytometry. The related cytokine levels in peripheral blood and pleural fluid, including IL-1α, IL-4 and IL-12, were also analyzed with ELISA assays. Results. The results showed significant increase of T-helper cell subpopulation in pleural effusion of various etiologies. No obvious change of B-lymphocyte subpopulation between peripheral blood and pleural effusion was found. IL-4 was undetectable in both peripheral blood and pleural fluid in most cases. IL-1α was detectable in some cases and the level was highest in pleural fluid of empyema. Decreased NK cells were found in most cases of pleural effusion and accompanied by undetectable IL-12 both in pleural fluid and peripheral blood. The only one case with detectable IL-12 concentration in pleural fluid was the one with tuberculous pleurisy. Conclusions. Increased T-helper cell subpopulation and decreased NK cell subpopulation were found in pleural effusion of various etiologies. In spite of the small series of our patients, the decrease of NK cell subpopulation and the undetectable IL-12 concentration in pleural effusion deserves further investigations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)156-162
Number of pages7
JournalChinese Medical Journal (Taipei)
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 1 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Interleukin-12
  • Interleukin-4
  • Natural killer cell
  • Pleural effusion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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