A predominantly anti-inflammatory cytokine profile is associated with disease severity in meningococcal sepsis
This study aimed to determine whether an anti-inflammatory profile in meningococcal disease is associated with an increased risk of severe disease or septic shock.
Design and setting
Prospective observational study in a tertiary care children’s hospital.
Patients and participants
63 children with confirmed meningococcal disease.
Plasma concentrations of interleukin-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1Ra), interleukin-6 (IL-6), interleukin-8 (IL-8) and tumour necrosis factor-α (TNF) were assayed on admission. Receiver operator characteristic curve analysis was used to determine optimum thresholds for IL-1Ra:TNF, IL-1Ra:IL-6 and IL-1Ra:IL-8 ratios.
Measurements and results
Median IL-1Ra:TNF and IL-1Ra:IL-6 ratios were significantly higher in severe disease with septic shock than in severe disease without septic shock and in non severe disease (IL-1Ra:TNF 263 vs. 185 vs. 108; IL-1Ra:IL-6 139 vs. 23 vs. 17). Median IL-1Ra:IL-8 ratios were not significantly different in the three groups. A significantly larger proportion of children with high IL-1Ra:TNF-α and IL-1Ra:IL-6 ratios developed severe disease with septic shock than those with a low ratios (95.2% vs. 4.8%; 76.2% vs. 23.8%).
An anti-inflammatory profile appears to be associated with the development of severe disease and septic shock in meningococcal sepsis. This may imply that experimental new therapies of pro-inflammatory cytokine inhibition and anti-inflammatory cytokines in meningococcal disease could be detrimental.
KeywordsMeningococcal disease Cytokine Septic shock Logistic regression
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