Current Allergy and Asthma Reports

, Volume 12, Issue 6, pp 574–581 | Cite as

Cytokine Responses in the Common Cold and Otitis Media

  • Todd M. Wine
  • Cuneyt M. Alper


Cytokines are a group of diverse molecules that influence the function of every organ system. They are most well studied in their effects on the immune system and their integral role in mediating inflammation. The common cold and otitis media are two such disease states, and much has been learned about the various effects of cytokines in each disease. Most often the viruses isolated include rhinovirus (RV), respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), adenovirus, coronavirus, and picornavirus. Otitis media, sinusitis, bronchiolitis, pneumonia, and asthma exacerbation are commonly accepted as complications of viral upper respiratory tract infections. Furthermore, otitis media and upper respiratory infections are inextricably linked in that the majority (>70 %) of cases of acute otitis media occur as complications of the common cold. Cytokine polymorphisms have been associated with the severity of colds as well as the frequency of otitis media. This article attempts to update the reader on various studies that have recently been published regarding the role of cytokines in these two disease entities.


Cytokine Cytokine response Otitis media Common cold Viral upper respiratory infection Stress Viral signaling pathways Inflammatory response Inner ear inflammation Ion transport 



Dr. Alper has received grant support from the National Institutes of Health.


No potential conflicts of interest relevant to this article were reported.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Pediatric Otolaryngology, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, Department of OtolaryngologyUniversity of Pittsburgh Medical CenterPittsburghUSA

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