Article Type

Original Study


Objective The aim of the study was to investigate the influence of phototherapy in treatment of neonatal hyperbilirubinemia on the serum level of tumour necrosis factor-α (TNF-α). Background Jaundice is the most common clinical diagnosis in neonatal medicine that requires medical attention. Phototherapy is the most commonly used intervention to treat and prevent severe hyperbilirubinemia. Some investigations have expressed concern about potential toxic effects of phototherapy; one possible harmful consequence is affection of cytokines production and lymphocyte subtypes, which can affect the function of the immune system of the newborn. Recent research has provided evidence that phototherapy is associated with some long-term side effects such as melanocytic nevi and skin cancer, allergic diseases, asthma, patent ductus arteriosus and retinal damage. Patients and methods A total of 30 term neonates with neonatal jaundice were included in this study who had indirect bilirubin levels higher than 14 mg/dl, and 15 healthy matched newborns were selected as controls. Blood samples were obtained from hyperbilirubinemic newborns before exposure and at 72 h of exposure to phototherapy and from controls at the time of examination. Serum TNF-α levels were measured in the samples using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay kits. Results Serum TNF-α levels in both patients before phototherapy and the control group did not differ significantly. Serum TNF-͍ levels significantly increased after 72 h of exposure to phototherapy, indicating the strong effect of phototherapy on TNF-α serum level. Conclusion These results demonstrate that, in addition to the well-known positive effect of phototherapy on the neonatal serum bilirubin level, this therapeutic modality increased serum TNF-α that can affect the function of the immune system in newborns.