This study primarily aimed to evaluate the serum levels of tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) and interleukin (IL)-4 in patients with lumbar radiculopathy 1 and 12 months after microdiscectomy.
Lumbar radiculopathy is possibly caused by inflammatory changes in the nerve root. The intraneural application of pro-inflammatory cytokines induces behavioral signs associated with pain. Anti-inflammatory cytokine treatment effectively reduces hyperalgesia.
The role of TNF-α and IL-4 in long-lasting lumbar radiculopathy was addressed. A total of 262 patients were recruited from Anqing Hospital, Anhui Medical University. During inclusion at 1 and 12 months, serum concentrations of TNF-α and IL-4 were analyzed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, and pain intensity was reported on a 0–10 cm visual analog scale (VAS).
Sixty six patients had VAS <3 and 196 patients had VAS ≥3. Serum concentrations of pro-inflammatory TNF-α and anti-inflammatory IL-4 in patients with lumbar radiculopathy related to disc herniation were measured at 1- and 12-month follow-up. TNF-α decreased in both VAS groups with time. In contrast, IL-4 increased in both groups at 1 month and then decreased gradually until month 12. The changes in serum levels of TNF-α and IL-4 over time between the VAS ≥3 and VAS <3 groups were significantly different.