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J Infect Dis. 1999 Jul;180(1):10-4.

Evidence for cytokine mediation of disease expression in adults experimentally infected with influenza A virus.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Allergy/Immunology Section, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA. skonerd@chplink.chp.edu


The roles of interleukin (IL)-6 and IL-8 in mediating the symptoms and signs of influenza A infection were examined. Adults were intranasally inoculated with a rimantadine-sensitive strain of influenza A HlNl virus and treated with rimantadine or placebo. Viral shedding, secretion weights, symptom scores, and concentrations of IL-6 and IL-8 in nasal lavage fluids were compared between treatment groups. Viral shedding was associated with increases in local and systemic symptoms, in expelled secretion weights, and in levels of IL-6 and IL-8. Compared with placebo, rimantadine treatment reduced viral shedding, systemic symptoms, and levels of IL-8. Days of viral shedding and IL-6 but not IL-8 concentrations were significantly correlated with the other measures of symptoms and signs. These data support a causal relationship between viral replication, cytokine production, and symptom expression, and they suggest that IL-6 may have a role in mediating symptom and sign expression during influenza A infection.

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