5 years ago

Circulating interleukin-8 and tumor necrosis factor-α are associated with hot flashes in healthy postmenopausal women

Chia-Chu Chang, Ting-Yu Chen, Dar-Ren Chen, Hung-Ming Wu, I-Lun Hsin, Chew-Teng Kor, Wan-Yu Huang

by Wan-Yu Huang, I-Lun Hsin, Dar-Ren Chen, Chia-Chu Chang, Chew-Teng Kor, Ting-Yu Chen, Hung-Ming Wu


Hot flashes have been postulated to be linked to systemic inflammation. This study aimed to investigate the relationship between hot flashes, pro-inflammatory factors, and leukocytes in healthy, non-obese postmenopausal women.

Participants and design

In this cross-sectional study, a total of 202 women aged 45–60 years were stratified into one of four groups according to their hot-flash status: never experienced hot flashes (Group N), mild hot flashes (Group m), moderate hot flashes (Group M), and severe hot flashes (Group S). Variables measured in this study included clinical parameters, hot flash experience, leukocytes, and fasting plasma levels of nine circulating cytokines/chemokines measured by using multiplex assays. Multiple linear regression analysis was used to evaluate the associations of hot flashes with these pro-inflammatory factors.


The study was performed in a hospital medical center.


The mean values of leukocyte number were not different between these four groups. The hot flash status had a positive tendency toward increased levels of circulating IL-6 (P-trend = 0.049), IL-8 (P-trend < 0.001), TNF-α (P-trend = 0.008), and MIP1β (P-trend = 0.04). Multivariate linear regression analysis revealed that hot-flash severity was significantly associated with IL-8 (P-trend < 0.001) and TNFα (P-trend = 0.007) among these nine cytokines/chemokines after adjustment for age, menopausal duration, BMI and FSH. Multivariate analysis further revealed that severe hot flashes were strongly associated with a higher IL-8 (% difference, 37.19%; 95% confidence interval, 14.98,63.69; P < 0.001) and TNFα (51.27%; 6.64,114.57; P < 0.05).


The present study provides evidence that hot flashes are associated with circulating IL-8 and TNF-α in healthy postmenopausal women. It suggests that hot flashes might be related to low-grade systemic inflammation.

Publisher URL: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0184011

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