Journal of Microbiology, Immunology and Infection (2020-04-01)

Cytokine profiles in cerebrospinal fluid of patients with meningitis at a tertiary general hospital in China

  • Qianqian Liu,
  • Yan Gao,
  • Bingyan Zhang,
  • Feng Sun,
  • Qingluan Yang,
  • Yuanyuan Liu,
  • Jing Wu,
  • Kun Chen,
  • Xinhua Weng,
  • Wenhong Zhang,
  • Ruofan Huang,
  • Lingyun Shao

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 53, no. 2
pp. 216 – 224


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Background: There has been a great deal of evidence indicating that cytokines participate in meningeal inflammation. Different cytokine profiles may be presented in central nervous system (CNS) infection due to different pathogens. We have attempted to investigate cytokine profiles in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of patients with CNS infection. Methods: Forty-three patients with CNS infection including tuberculous meningitis, purulent meningitis and cryptococcal meningitis were enrolled and 11 patients with normal CSF were enrolled as control group. The concentrations of Th1-, Th2- and Th17-type cytokines in CSF were detected using multiplex cytokine assay. Furthermore, the correlation between CSF cytokines and CSF parameters in CNS infection was analyzed. Results: The CSF levels of IL-1β, IL-4, IL-6, IL-10, IL-17, IL-23, IL-33, IFN-γ, TNF-α and sCD40L among the patients with CNS infection were all higher than control group (all P < 0.05). A remarkable elevation of CSF IL-6 in the patients with CNS infection was observed with the least overlap of the CSF concentrations compared to controls. Moreover, CSF IL-6 levels were strongly negatively correlated with CSF glucose and the CSF/blood glucose ratio (r = −0.4375, P = 0.0042; r = −0.4991, P = 0.0009). Conclusions: The excessive activation of immune response characterized by elevated levels of CSF Th1-, Th2- and Th17-type cytokines has been observed during CNS infection. Furthermore, we observed negative correlations between CSF IL-6 levels and CSF glucose and CSF/blood glucose ratio in CNS infection. And we suggested that combined CSF IL-6 levels with CSF glucose may serve as a novel biomarker pool for the differential of CNS infection. Keywords: Central nervous system, Infection, Cytokines, IL-6, Glucose