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School of Medicine





The study of localized immune-related factors has proven beneficial for a variety of conditions, and one area of interest in the field of orthopaedics is the impact of implants and localized infections on immune response. Several cytokines have shown increased systemic concentrations (in serum/plasma) in response to implants and infection, but tissue-level cytokines have not been investigated as thoroughly.


This exploratory study investigated tissue-level cytokines in a cohort of patients (N = 17) in response to total knee arthroplasty and total knee revision to better understand the immune response to implants and localized infection (e.g., prosthetic joint infection). The overall goal of this study was to provide insight into the localized cytokine response of tissues and identify tissue-level markers specific to inflammation caused by implants vs. inflammation caused by infection. Tissues were collected across several anatomical locations and assayed with a panel of 20 human inflammatory cytokines to understand spatial differences in cytokine levels.


In this study, six cytokines were elevated in implanted joints, as compared to native joints: IL-10, IL-12p70, IL-13, IL-17A, IL-4, and TNF-α (p < 0.05). Seven cytokines showed infection-dependent increases in localized tissues: IL-1α, IL-1β, IL-6, IL-8, MCP-1, MIP-1α, and MIP-1β (p < 0.05).


This study demonstrated that differences exist in tissue-level cytokines in response to presence of implant, and some cytokines were specifically elevated for infection; these responses may be informative of overall tissue health. These results highlight the utility of investigating localized cytokine concentrations to offer novel insights for total knee arthroplasty and total knee revision procedures, as well as their complications. Ultimately, this information could provide additional, quantitative measurements of tissue to aid clinical decision making and patient treatment options.

Source Citation

Prince, N., Penatzer, J.A., Dietz, M.J. et al. Localized cytokine responses to total knee arthroplasty and total knee revision complications. J Transl Med 18, 330 (2020).


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This article received support from the WVU Libraries' Open Access Author Fund.

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