Cytokine responses in acute and persistent human parvovirus B19 infection

Clin Exp Immunol. 2007 Mar;147(3):419-25. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2249.2006.03286.x.


The aim of this study was to characterize the proinflammatory and T helper (Th)1/Th2 cytokine responses during acute parvovirus B19 (B19) infection and determine whether an imbalance of the Th1/Th2 cytokine pattern is related to persistent B19 infection. Cytokines were quantified by multiplex beads immunoassay in serum from B19-infected patients and controls. The cytokine responses were correlated with B19 serology, quantitative B19 DNA levels and clinical symptoms. In addition to a proinflammatory response, elevated levels of the Th1 type of cytokines interleukin (IL)-2, IL-12 and IL-15 were evident at time of the initial peak of B19 viral load in a few patients during acute infection. This pattern was seen in the absence of an interferon (IFN)-gamma response. During follow-up (20-130 weeks post-acute infection) some of these patients had a sustained Th1 cytokine response. The Th1 cytokine response correlated with the previously identified sustained CD8+ T cell response and viraemia. A cross-sectional study on patients with persistent B19 infection showed no apparent imbalance of their cytokine pattern, except for an elevated level of IFN-gamma response. No general immunodeficiency was diagnosed as an explanation for the viral persistence in this later group. Neither the acutely infected nor the persistently infected patients demonstrated a Th2 cytokine response. In conclusion, the acutely infected patients demonstrated a sustained Th1 cytokine response whereas the persistently infected patients did not exhibit an apparent imbalance of their cytokine pattern except for an elevated IFN-gamma response.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adult
  • Chronic Disease
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Cytokines / blood*
  • DNA, Viral / blood
  • Female
  • Histocompatibility Testing
  • Humans
  • Inflammation Mediators / blood
  • Interferon-gamma / blood
  • Middle Aged
  • Parvoviridae Infections / immunology*
  • Parvoviridae Infections / virology
  • Parvovirus B19, Human / isolation & purification*
  • Th1 Cells / immunology
  • Th2 Cells / immunology
  • Viral Load


  • Cytokines
  • DNA, Viral
  • Inflammation Mediators
  • Interferon-gamma