Comparative cytokine profiling identifies common and unique serum cytokine responses in acute chikungunya and dengue virus infection

Dhenni R., Yohan B., Alisjahbana B., Lucanus A., Riswari S.F., Megawati D., Haryanto S., Gampamole D., Hayati R.F., Sari K., Witari N.P.D., Myint K.S.A., Sasmono R.T.

Eijkman Institute for Molecular Biology, Jakarta, Indonesia; Faculty of Medicine, Universitas Padjadjaran, Bandung, Indonesia; School of Anatomy, Physiology and Human Biology, University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia; Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Warmadewa University, Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia; Siloam Hospital, Jambi, Indonesia; Bethesda Hospital, Tomohon, Indonesia


Background: Infection by chikungunya (CHIKV) and dengue virus (DENV) can cause a wide spectrum of clinical features, many of which are undifferentiated. Cytokines, which broadly also include chemokines and growth factors, have been shown to play a role in protective immunity as well as DENV and CHIKV pathogenesis. However, differences in cytokine response to both viruses remain poorly understood, especially in patients from countries where both viruses are endemic. Our study is therefore aimed to provide a comparative profiling of cytokine response induced by acute DENV and CHIKV infections in patients with similar disease stages and in experimental in vitro infections. Methods: By using multiplex immunoassay, we compared host cytokine profiles between acute CHIKV and DENV infections by analysing serum cytokine levels of IL-1α, IL-4, IL-5, IL-8, IL-13, RANTES, MCP-3, eotaxin, PDGF-AB/BB, and FGF-2 from the sera of acute chikungunya and dengue fever patients. We further investigated the cytokine profile responses using experimental in vitro CHIKV and DENV infections of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). Results: We found that both CHIKV and DENV-infected patients had an upregulated level of IL-8 and IL-4, with the highest IL-4 level observed in DENV-2 infected patients. Higher IL-8 level was also correlated with lower platelet count in dengue patients. IL-13 and MCP-3 downregulation was observed only in chikungunya patients, while conversely PDGF-AB/BB and FGF-2 downregulation was unique in dengue patients. Age-associated differential expression of IL-13, MCP-3, and IL-5 was also observed, while distinct kinetics of IL-4, IL-8, and FGF-2 expression between CHIKV and DENV-infected patients were identified. Furthermore, the unique pattern of IL-8, IL-13 and MCP-3, but not IL-4 expression was also recapitulated using experimental in vitro infection in PBMCs. Conclusions: Taken together, our study identified common cytokine response profile characterized by upregulation of IL-8 and IL-4 between CHIKV and DENV infection. Downregulation of IL-13 and MCP-3 was identified as a unique cytokine response profile of acute CHIKV infection, while distinct downregulation of PDGF-AB/BB and FGF-2 characterized the response from acute DENV infection. Our study provides an important overview of the host cytokine responses between CHIKV and DENV infection, which is important to further understand the mechanism and pathology of these diseases. © 2021, The Author(s).

Chikungunya; Cytokine; Dengue; Host response


BMC Infectious Diseases

Publisher: BioMed Central Ltd

Volume 21, Issue 1, Art No 639, Page – , Page Count

Journal Link:

doi: 10.1186/s12879-021-06339-6

Issn: 14712334

Type: All Open Access, Gold, Green


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