Severe influenza is often associated with disease manifestations outside the respiratory tract. While proinflammatory cytokines can be detected in the lungs and blood of infected patients, the role of extra-respiratory organs in the production of proinflammatory cytokines is unknown. Here, we show that both 2009 pandemic H1N1 influenza A (H1N1) virus and highly pathogenic avian influenza A (H5N1) virus induce expression of tumor necrosis factor α, interleukin-6, and interleukin-8 in the respiratory tract and central nervous system. In addition, H5N1 virus induced cytokines in the heart, pancreas, spleen, liver, and jejunum. Together, these data suggest that extra-respiratory tissues contribute to systemic cytokine responses, which may increase the severity of influenza.

, , , , , , ,,
The Journal of Infectious Diseases
Department of Virology

Short, K., Veeris, R. (Rebecca), Leijten, L., van den Brand, J., Jong, V. L., Stittelaar, K., … van Riel, D. (2017). Proinflammatory Cytokine Responses in Extra-Respiratory Tissues during Severe Influenza. The Journal of Infectious Diseases, 216(7), 829–833. doi:10.1093/infdis/jix281