OBJECTIVES: The present study was designed to explore the roles of inflammatory cytokines interleukin-1β (IL-1β) and Tumor growth factor-β (TGF-β) in the diagnosis and treatment of neonate bilirubin encephalopathy (BE). METHODS: A total of 128 BE neonates and 128 normal neonates were included. The serum samples of the BE children and controls were collected, and the levels of IL-1β and TGF-β were examined. Moreover, the correlation between the level of bilirubin and serum expression of IL-1β or TGF-β in BE patients was analyzed. Finally, receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves were generated to determine the diagnostic value of the cytokines. RESULTS: IL-1β and TGF-β levels were higher in the serum of BE patients than those in non-BE patients, and the expression of either IL-1β or TGF-β showed a strong positive correlation with the serum expression of bilirubin in BE patients. Moreover, the results of ROC analysis showed that either IL-1β or TGF-β could distinguish BE patients from healthy controls. CONCLUSION: IL-1β and TGF-β levels were upregulated in BE and might function as potential biomarkers or therapeutic targets for BE patients.