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The significance of interleukin 8 in urine


AIMS To assess the implications of detection of interleukin 8 (IL-8) in urine.

METHODS IL-8 was measured by immunoassay in all 305 urine samples from children aged 0–18.4 years received by our microbiology laboratory during four weeks, with a retrospective structured case note audit for all those in whom IL-8, white cells, or bacteria were detected. Patients were divided into three groups: urinary tract infection (UTI), at least one sample with ⩾5 leucocytes × 109/l and ⩾105 cultured bacteria/ml; possible UTI, at least one sample with ⩾5 leucocytes × 109/l or ⩾105 cultured bacteria/ml but not both; UTI unlikely, sample(s) with <5 leucocytes × 109/l and <105 cultured bacteria/ml. Medical records were sought for all in groups 1 (14/14 found) and 2 (18/21 found) and those in group 3 (41/59 found) in whose urine any leucocytes, cultured bacteria, or IL-8 were detected.

RESULTS IL-8 was detected in 58/305 samples from 48/264 patients. IL-8 was detected in at least one urine sample from 13/14 patients with confirmed UTI (group 1); in 11/21 patients with possible UTI (group 2), of whom two were treated as UTI; and in 23/228 patients without UTI. Using a cut off of 200 pg/ml, urine IL-8 had a sensitivity of 93% and a specificity of 90% for diagnosing UTI.

CONCLUSIONS Urine IL-8 is a sensitive test for UTI, but is poorly specific as it is also present in a variety of other infectious and inflammatory disorders.

  • urinary tract infection
  • interleukin 8
  • diagnostic tests

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