WEDNESDAY, July 3, 2019 (HealthDay News) — For concussed athletes, interleukin (IL)-6 and IL-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1RA) are significantly elevated at six hours after concussion, and IL-6 levels are associated with symptom duration, according to a study published online July 3 in Neurology.

Morgan E. Nitta, from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and colleagues examined whether acute elevations in serum inflammatory markers predict symptom recovery after sports-related concussion in a cohort of 41 concussed athletes and 43 matched control athletes. At a preinjury baseline, six, and 24 to 48 hours postinjury, and about eight, 15, and 45 days after concussion, serum levels of IL-6, IL-1β, IL-10, tumor necrosis factor, C-reactive protein, interferon-γ, and IL-1RA were measured.

The researchers found that compared with controls, and relative to preinjury and other postinjury visits, IL-6 and IL-1RA were significantly elevated in concussed athletes at six hours. At six hours postconcussion, IL-6 and IL-1RA significantly discriminated concussed from control athletes (area under receiver operating characteristic curve, 0.79 and 0.79 for IL-6 and IL-1RA, respectively). There was a significant correlation for IL-6 levels at six-hours postconcussion with symptom duration (hazard ratio for symptom recovery, 0.61).

“These findings highlight the IL-6 and IL-1 pathways as possible targets for treatment development, consistent with recent attempts to determine the efficacy of recombinant human IL-1RA as treatment for severe traumatic brain injury in humans,” the authors write.

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