1. Reocclusion is still a significant complication after percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty. The injury of coronary arteries resulting from PTCA plays an important role in the pathophysiology of both abrupt closure and late restenosis after an initially successful procedure. Cytokines play a pivotal role in the accumulation of circulating blood cells at the endothelium and are known to regulate their interaction with the vessel wall.

2. To obtain further information about this interaction, serum concentrations of soluble endothelial leukocyte adhesion molecule 1 (sELAM-1), leucocyte endothelial cell adhesion molecule 1 (sL-selectin), intercellular adhesion molecule 1 (sICAM-1), interleukin 2 receptor (sIL-2R) and interleukin 8 (IL-8) detected by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay were monitored in 30 consecutive patients referred for elective PTCA. Fifteen patients who underwent elective coronary angiography without PTCA served as controls.

3. All patients underwent successful first PTCA. Within 24 h the serum concentrations of sELAM-1 increased gradually from 21.7 (SD 7.1) to 48.2 (SD 8.6) ng/ml (P < 0.01); levels of sL-selectin rose from 982.1 (SD 128.7) to 1541.3 (SD 104.6) ng/ml after 48h (P < 0.01). Serum levels of IL-8 remained stable initially, but peaked at the end of the observation time of 72 h (9.4, SD 3.8, versus 16.1, SD 4.9 ng/ml; P < 0.05). A positive correlation was found between the number of dilatations and the rise in these parameters (P < 0.01). No significant changes were found in the serum concentrations of sICAM-1 and sIL-2R after PTCA or in any of the parameters in patients after coronary angiography.

4. We conclude that PTCA induces a significant rise in the concentration of certain adhesion molecules in serum. Thus, we provide preliminary data on the potential role of cytokines for blood cell-endothelium interaction after PTCA. Further investigations and larger numbers of patients are needed to clarify the role of circulating cytokines for endothelial injury and restenosis after PTCA.

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