Various cytokines are reportedly associated with many neonatal diseases. Asphyxia is considered to result in ischemia-reperfusion injuries and induces abnormal inflammatory responses involving excessive cytokine production. To evaluate alteration in sera levels of various cytokines/chemokines in case of perinatal asphyxia at birth. In order to determine the concentrations of various cytokines/chemokines in sera, we used a highly sensitive fluorescence microsphere method. We measured the concentration of 8 types of cytokines/chemokines in sera obtained from 17 cases of asphyxia, 10 normal neonates, and 6 healthy adults. The concentrations of IL-6, IL-8, and IL-10 in the sera of asphyxiated neonates were higher than those in the normal neonates. Irrespective of the presence or absence of asphyxia, sera concentrations of IL-2, IL-4, IFN-gamma, and TNF-alpha were higher in the neonates than those in the adults. The concentration of IFN-gamma in the asphyxiated neonates was lower than that in the normal neonates. Sera levels of IL-10 were higher in the asphyxiated cases than those in the normal neonates. The sera levels of IL-6, IL-8, and IL-10 in asphyxiated neonates with either a poor outcome or death were higher than those without poor outcomes. The concentrations of various types of cytokines/chemokines were different in neonatal sera and some of them increased drastically during asphyxia. The concentration of an anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10 was elevated in asphyxiated neonates immediately after birth, thereby suggesting that IL-10 might be associated with neuroprotective functions. Copyright (c) 2006 S. Karger AG, Basel.