Serum Cytokine and Chemokine Profile in Relation to the Severity of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in China

J Infect Dis. 2020 Jun 21;jiaa363. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jiaa363. Online ahead of print.


Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is an emerging infectious disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). We investigated the serum cytokine and chemokine levels in asymptomatic, mild, moderate, severe and convalescent SARS-CoV-2 infected cases. Proinflammatory cytokine and chemokine production induced by SARS-CoV-2 were observed not only in symptomatic patients but also in asymptomatic cases, and returned to normal after recovery. IL-6, IL-7, IL-10, IL-18, G-CSF, M-CSF, MCP-1, MCP-3, IP-10, MIG, and MIP-1α were found to be associated with the severity of COVID-19. Moreover, a set of cytokine and chemokine profiles were signicfiantly higher in SARS-CoV-2-infected male patients than female cases. The serum levels of MCP-1, G-CSF, and VEGF were weekly and positively correlated with the viral titers. We suggest that combinatorial analysis of serum cytokines and chemokines with clinical classification may contribute to evaluate the severity of COVID-19 and optimize the therapeutic strategies.

Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; chemokine; cytokine; disease severity.