4 years ago

Pro-inflammatory immune responses are associated with clinical signs and symptoms of human anaplasmosis

Steven J. Schrodi, Jennifer K. Meece, Sanjay K. Shukla, Anna M. Schotthoefer, Thomas R. Fritsche

by Anna M. Schotthoefer, Steven J. Schrodi, Jennifer K. Meece, Thomas R. Fritsche, Sanjay K. Shukla

Human anaplasmosis (HA) is an emerging tick-borne disease that may present as a mild flu-like illness or a life threatening, sepsis-like condition. Although disease severity is hypothesized to relate to immunopathology and immune dysfunction in humans, studies to directly measure immune responses in infected humans have been very limited. We quantified cytokines in 80 confirmed HA patients using a multiplex chemiluminescence immunoassay system and compared similarly measured responses in 1000 control subjects. Pro-inflammatory cytokines were significantly elevated in HA patients (all seven p<0.0001). Interferon gamma (IFN-γ) concentrations were particularly high, with average concentrations 7.8 times higher in the HA patients than the controls. A subset of cytokines consisting of IL-1β, IL-8, IL-6, TNF-α, and IL-10 was also coordinately high and significantly associated with severity of thrombocytopenia in HA patients. Patients with infections in the very acute stage (≤ 4 days ill) tended to have the highest IFN-γ, IL-12p70, and IL-2 levels. Higher concentrations of IL-13 and IL-5 were associated with diarrhea and vomiting. Our findings support a pathophysiological role for a pro-inflammatory response in HA, especially with regard to the modulation of hematopoiesis and subsequent hematopoietic complications.

Publisher URL: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0179655

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