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13-09-2009 | Gynaecology | Article

Interleukin-6 levels increased in women with unexplained infertility


Journal abstract

MedWire News: Women with unexplained infertility have increased serum levels of the inflammatory cytokine interleukin (IL)-6 in comparison with fertile women, Turkish investigators have discovered.

Bulent Demir, from Health Ministry Ergani Government Hospital in Diyarbakir, and colleagues measured serum IL-6 and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha levels on day 3 of the menstrual cycle in 45 women with unexplained infertility and 44 fertile women.

There were no significant differences in age, basal hormone levels, body mass index, and TNF-alpha levels between infertile and fertile women. In contrast, serum IL-6 levels were significantly increased in infertile women compared with fertile women, at 5.67 ng/ml versus 4.36 ng/ml, respectively.

However, there was an overlap in serum IL-6 levels between infertile and fertile women, and there were no significant correlations between serum hormones and cytokine levels.

“The results of this study might provide a great contribution to the understanding of the pathophysiology of unexplained infertility although the major limitations of this study are overlapping values for IL-6 in both groups, the small sample size and not comparing the serum and peritoneal fluid IL-6 and TNF-alpha level,” the team says.

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a part of Springer Science+Business Media. © Current Medicine Group Ltd; 2009

By Liam Davenport