JOURNAL ARTICLE

Immune response during influenza virus infection among the population of Assam, Northeast India

Mousumi Dutta, Prafulla Dutta, Subhash Medhi, Biswajyoti Borkakoty, Dipankar Biswas
Indian Journal of Medical Microbiology 2019, 37 (4): 549-556
32436879

Introduction: The pathogenicity of influenza virus infection is modulated by the cytokine expressions in patients. The present study was aimed to measure some important pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines in influenza-infected population of Assam, Northeast India.

Materials and Methods: Influenza viruses consisting of subtypes influenza A(H1N1)pdm09, H3N2 and influenza-B were detected in patients with symptoms of influenza-like-illness by Real-time reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) method. Relative messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) quantification of four pro-inflammatory cytokines (interleukin [IL]-6, IL-8, interferon-gamma [IFN-γ] and tumour necrosis factor-alpha [TNF-α]) and one anti-inflammatory cytokine (IL-10) were measured in influenza-positive cases and non-influenza controls, by real-time RT-PCR. The plasma concentration of the cytokines was determined using cytometric-bead-array with flow cytometry.

Results: Influenza viruses were detected in 14.28% (50/350) of 350 patients screened. The expression of IL-6 was significantly raised in cases compared to controls (P = 0.018). IL-8 and IL-10 were also raised in cases, compared to controls (P = 0.284 and P = 0.018). An increased plasma TNF-α was observed in cases (1.36-fold and P = 0.289). The mRNA expression of IFN-γ was also increased in cases compared to controls (0.87-fold). However, the plasma level of IFN-γ was higher in the non-influenza controls compared to cases.

Conclusions: The study revealed a differential cytokine profile during influenza virus infection in the population, which may influence disease severity. An extended study on host immune response may provide better insights for the use of cytokine antagonists in therapeutic treatments among severe cases of influenza virus infection.

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