The aims of this study were to investigate the serum levels of some cytokines [tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), interleukin 1beta (IL-1beta), IL-2R, IL-6, and IL-8] and nitric oxide (NO) levels in patients with untreated brucellosis and to test the correlation of these parameters with each other. The study was conducted on 67 subjects, 37 patients with brucellosis and 30 healthy individuals with no history of Brucella infection. Brucellosis was identified by a positive blood culture and/or increased Brucella antibodies in serological tests in addition to compatible clinical symptoms. Cytokine profile analysis was performed by the immulite chemiluminescent enzyme immunometric assay whose inter- and intra-assay coefficients of variance were 2.6-3.6 and 4.4-8.5%, respectively. The levels of nitrites/nitrates, which are representative of NO levels, were measured by the Griess method. Patients with brucellosis had significantly elevated serum levels of nitrites/nitrates, IL-2R, IL-6 and IL-8 (mean +/- SD, 102.8 +/- 23.8 mumol/l, 806.1 +/- 58.5 U/ml, 21.1 +/- 2.3 mug/ml, and 8.8 +/- 1.6 pg/ml, respectively) compared to healthy controls, whereas TNF-alpha and IL-1beta levels were unchanged. No statistically significant correlation was detected between any of the studied cytokine levels and nitrate/nitrite concentrations according to Pearson's linear correlation test. We conclude that only IL-6, IL-8 and IL-2R are elevated in brucellosis and the extent of elevation depends on the severity and clinical pattern of the disease. Moderate elevation in serum NO was comparable to that observed in previous studies. This explains the absence or very rare occurrence of septic shock in brucellosis.