Earlier studies indicate that lumbar radicular pain after disc herniation may be associated with a local inflammation induced by leakage of nucleus pulposus (NP) into the spinal canal and neuroforamen. In the present study we addressed the role of two interleukins, IL-6 and IL-8 in such long-lasting lumbar radicular pain. All 127 patients were recruited from Oslo University Hospital, Ullevål, Norway. At inclusion, 6 weeks and 12 months, serum concentrations of IL-6 and IL-8 were analyzed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and pain intensity was reported on a 0–10 cm visual analog scale (VAS). Significantly higher levels of IL-6 and IL-8 in serum were found in patients with VAS ⩾3 at 12 months, than in patient with VAS <3 at 12 months (p ⩽ 0.01, test of between-subjects effect, repeated measures ANOVA, covariates for IL-6: age, smoking; covariates for IL-8: smoking, treatment). For the first time we show that chronic lumbar radicular pain may be associated with a persistent increase of the pro-inflammatory substances IL-6 and IL-8 in serum after disc herniation.

Pedersen, Linda Margareth; Schistad, Ellina Iordanova; Jacobsen, Line Melå; Røe, Cecilie; Gjerstad, Johannes
Brain, Behavior, and Immunity 46: 132–136
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