The aims of this study were to determine if differences in serum pro-inflammatory cytokines, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and clinical pregnancy rate, could be observed in women with severe ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) in those who did and did not have liver dysfunction. Twenty-nine in-vitro fertilization patients with severe OHSS were included. The patients were divided into the normal liver function tests (LFT) group (n = 14) and the abnormal LFT group (n = 15) according to the LFT on day of admission. Periodic measurements of serum interleukin (IL)-6, IL-8, tumour necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), VEGF, oestradiol, progesterone concentrations, and LFT were performed during hospitalization. Concentrations of IL-6 in the active phase of OHSS were significantly higher in the abnormal LFT group than in the normal LFT group (19.7 ± 15.7 versus 8.1 ± 7.0 pg/ml, respectively). The severity of liver dysfunction was not correlated with concentrations of oestradiol, progesterone, haematocrit, white blood cell counts, or any studied cytokine. The clinical pregnancy rate was significantly lower in the abnormal LFT group (46.7%) than in the normal LFT group (85.7%). These results suggest that IL-6 cytokine system may play a role in the pathogenesis of liver dysfunction in severe OHSS. Abnormal LFT were associated with lower clinical pregnancy rates.
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