Peripheral blood cytokine responses and disease severity in respiratory syncytial virus bronchiolitis

L. Bont, C. J. Heijnen, A. Kavelaars, W. M.C. Van Aalderen, F. Brus, J. Th M. Draaisma, S. M. Geelen, H. J. Van Vught, J. L.L. Kimpen

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118 Citaten (Scopus)


The role of cellular immunity in disease severity in respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) bronchiolitis is largely unknown. This study investigated the association between disease severity and systemic cytokine responses in hospitalized ventilated and nonventilated RSV bronchiolitis patients. In whole blood cultures stimulated with phytohaemagglutinin (PHA), lymphoproliferative responses and interferon (IFN)-γ and interleukin (IL)-4 production during acute illness were measured. In addition, plasma cytokines were measured. Measurements were repeated in the convalescent phase, 3-4 weeks after admission. Fifty patients were included. The median age in ventilated patients was significantly lower than in nonventilated patients (1 versus 4 months, p<0.05). In comparison with nonventilated patients, the ventilated patients had significantly lower lymphoproliferative responses and a lower production of IFN-γ and IL-4. In fact, IFN-γ and IL-4 production in ventilated patients was almost completely undetectable. Plasma IL-8 levels in ventilated patients were significantly higher than in nonventilated patients. In the convalescent phase, lymphoproliferative and cytokine responses as well as plasma IL-8 levels were normal in both patient groups. Since RSV bronchiolitis is associated with the subsequent development of asthma, the possible skewing of the T-helper (Th1/Th2) cytokine balance was investigated. This was found neither in the acute nor in the convalescent phase. In conclusion, the data indicate that depressed lymphocyte function and elevated plasma interleukin-8 levels are markers of severe disease. It is suggested that age and maturation related immune mechanisms could explain the occurrence of severe respiratory syncytial virus bronchiolitis requiring mechanical ventilation in young infants.

Originele taal-2Engels
Pagina's (van-tot)144-149
Aantal pagina's6
TijdschriftEuropean Respiratory Journal
Nummer van het tijdschrift1
StatusGepubliceerd - 1999
Extern gepubliceerdJa


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