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J Infect Dis. 2010 Feb 1;201(3):346-53. doi: 10.1086/649785.

Cytokine profiles induced by the novel swine-origin influenza A/H1N1 virus: implications for treatment strategies.

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State Key Laboratory of Emerging Infectious Diseases, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China.



Given the apparent high mortality associated with the novel swine-origin influenza A/H1N1 virus (S-OIV) in Mexico, we aimed to study the cytokine profiles induced by S-OIV and the effect of immunomodulators.


We assayed cytokines and their messenger RNA (mRNA) levels in culture supernatants of human macrophages infected with H5N1, S-OIV California/04/2009 (S-OIV-CA), S-OIV Hong Kong/415742 (S-OIV-HK), or seasonal H1N1 with or without celecoxib and mesalazine.


Among the 12 cytokines showing detectable levels, levels of 8 proinflammatory cytokines (interleukin [IL] 2R, IL-6, interferon [IFN] alpha, macrophage inflammatory protein [MIP] alpha, MIP-1beta, IFN-induced protein 10, regulated on activation, normal T cell expressed and secreted [RANTES], and monocyte chemotactic protein [MCP] 1) were higher in cells infected by H5N1 but similar among cells infected with H1N1, S-OIV-CA, or S-OIV-HK. The levels of the other 4 cytokines were similar for H5N1, H1N1, S-OIV-CA and S-OIV-HK. Among the 8 cytokines induced by H5N1, 6 were suppressed by celecoxib and mesalazine. The mRNA levels of tumor necrosis factor alpha, IFN-gamma, IL-6, and MCP-1 induced by H5N1 were higher than the levels of other cytokines at 12 and/or 24 h.


No major cytokine storm, as seen in H5N1 infection, is associated with S-OIV infection of cell lines. The mainstay of treatment for uncomplicated S-OIV infections should be antiviral agents without immunomodulators. For individual S-OIV-infected patients with severe primary viral pneumonia, severe sepsis, and multiorgan failure, immunomodulators may be considered as an adjunctive therapy in clinical trials.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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