- The involvement of the proinflammatory cytokines, interleukin 8 (IL-8) and 6 (IL-6), was studied during the first 72 h of acute invasive gastroenteritis. Study population included 33 infants and young children aged six months to six years and seven age-matched controls. As a group, patients with acute invasive gastroenteritis had an increased serum level of IL-8 and IL-6 as compared with healthy controls (p < 0.002 and p < 0.001, respectively). Subjects were then divided into two groups based on stool cultures (proven and non-proven bacterial cultures). Patients with bacterial-proven acute invasive gastroenteritis tended to have increased IL-8 serum concentrations (p < 0.07) as compared with those with non-proven bacterial etiologies and IL-6 levels were only detected in subjects with positive bacterial cultures (p < 0.05). When dividing each sub-group into early and late blood drawing with respect to disease onset, no statistical differences were found in each group but subjects with bacterial-proven etiologies had significant higher IL-6 levels as compared with non-proven etiologies at the two time points (p < 0.019 and p < 0.015, respectively). In conclusion, the proinflammatory cytokines, IL-6 and IL-8, are involved in acute invasive gastroenteritis. The difference in IL-6, and to a lesser degree IL-8, between proven and non-proven bacterial etiologies, needs further investigation.