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J Med Virol. 2005 Feb;75(2):185-94.

An interferon-gamma-related cytokine storm in SARS patients.

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Department of Basic Medicine, College of Medicine, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan.


Fourteen cytokines or chemokines were analyzed on 88 RT-PCR-confirmed severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) patients. IFN-gamma, IL-18, TGF-beta, IL-6, IP-10, MCP-1, MIG, and IL-8, but not of TNF-alpha, IL-2, IL-4, IL-10, IL-13, or TNFRI, were highly elevated in the acute phase sera of Taiwan SARS patients. IFN-gamma was significantly higher in the Ab(+) group than in the Ab(-) group. IFN-gamma, IL-18, MCP-1, MIG, and IP-10 were already elevated at early days post fever onset. Furthermore, levels of IL-18, IP-10, MIG, and MCP-1 were significantly higher in the death group than in the survival group. For the survival group, IFN-gamma and MCP-1 were inversely associated with circulating lymphocytes count and monocytes count, but positively associated with circulating neutrophils count. It is concluded that an interferon-gamma-related cytokine storm was induced post SARS coronavirus infection, and this cytokine storm might be involved in the immunopathological damage in SARS patients.

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