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Close association between pulmonary disease manifestation in Mycoplasma pneumoniae infection and enhanced local production of interleukin-18 in the lung, independent of gamma interferon



Close association between pulmonary disease manifestation in Mycoplasma pneumoniae infection and enhanced local production of interleukin-18 in the lung, independent of gamma interferon



Clinical and Diagnostic Laboratory Immunology 7(6): 909-914



To investigate pathophysiologies of Mycoplasma pneumoniae infection from an immunological point of view, we measured the levels of interleukin-18 (IL-18) (originally designated gamma interferon [IFN-gamma]-inducing factor) in 19 serum samples from 10 patients with pneumonia without pleural effusion (ages 1 to 16 years), 3 serum and 13 pleural fluid samples from 11 patients with pleural effusions (ages 11 months to 15 years), and 18 serum and 27 cerebrospinal fluid samples from 24 patients with central nervous system complications (ages 1 to 15 years). IL-18 was measured by a commercially available enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay kit (MBL, Nagoya, Japan). In addition, the levels of tumor necrosis factor alpha, IFN-gamma, IL-6, IL-12, and KL-6 (a mucin-like glycoprotein expressed on type 2 pneumocytes) were measured in selected samples. The results concerning pleural effusions showed that elevated levels of IL-18 in pleural fluid, but not in serum, were solely associated with a sustained fibrotic change of the lung on chest roentgenography which might represent a pathological feature of intraluminal organization. All the pleural fluid samples with elevated levels of IL-18 were positive by PCR for M. pneumoniae DNA. There was no association between IL-18 and IFN-gamma levels in serum or in the pleural fluid. On the other hand, elevated levels of IL-18 in serum, but not in cerebrospinal fluid samples, were observed in the cases complicated by central nervous system involvement, including profound brain dysfunction with seizures. Our study demonstrated that M. pneumoniae can induce IL-18 and that the enhanced local production of IL-18 in the lung is closely associated with pulmonary disease manifestation.

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Accession: 045552023

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PMID: 11063497

DOI: 10.1128/cdli.7.6.909-914.2000


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