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J Infect Dis. 1999 Feb;179(2):295-302.

High levels of cytokine-producing cells in the lung tissues of patients with fatal hantavirus pulmonary syndrome.

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Center for Infectious Disease and Vaccine Research, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, Massachusetts 01655, USA.


Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) is characterized by the rapid onset of pulmonary edema and a high case-fatality rate. Hantavirus antigens have been demonstrated in pulmonary capillary endothelial cells, but the mechanisms causing capillary leakage remain unclear. Immunohistochemical staining was used to enumerate cytokine-producing cells (monokines: interleukin [IL]-1alpha, IL-1beta, IL-6, and tumor necrosis factor [TNF]-alpha; lymphokines: interferon-gamma, IL-2, IL-4, and TNF-beta) in tissues obtained at autopsy from subjects with HPS. High numbers of cytokine-producing cells were seen in the lung and spleen tissues of HPS patients, but only low numbers in the livers and kidneys. A modest increase in the numbers of cytokine-producing cells was detected in the lungs of patients who died with non-HPS acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), and very few (or no) cytokine-producing cells were detected in the lungs of patients who died of causes other than ARDS. These results suggest that local cytokine production may play an important role in the pathogenesis of HPS.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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