METHODS: We measured levels of 30 chemokines and cytokines in serum and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples from Malaysian children hospitalized with EV71 infection (n = 88), comprising uncomplicated HFMD (n = 47), meningitis (n = 8), acute flaccid paralysis (n = 1), encephalitis (n = 21), and encephalitis with cardiorespiratory compromise (n = 11). Four of the latter patients died.
RESULTS: Both pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory mediator levels were elevated, with different patterns of mediator abundance in the CSF and vascular compartments. Serum concentrations of interleukin 1β (IL-1β), interleukin 1 receptor antagonist (IL-1Ra), and granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) were raised significantly in patients who developed cardio-respiratory compromise (P = .013, P = .004, and P < .001, respectively). Serum IL-1Ra and G-CSF levels were also significantly elevated in patients who died, with a serum G-CSF to interleukin 5 ratio of >100 at admission being the most accurate prognostic marker for death (P < .001; accuracy, 85.5%; sensitivity, 100%; specificity, 84.7%).
CONCLUSIONS: Given that IL-1β has a negative inotropic action on the heart, and that both its natural antagonist, IL-1Ra, and G-CSF are being assessed as treatments for acute cardiac impairment, the findings suggest we have identified functional markers of EV71-related cardiac dysfunction and potential treatment options.