High levels of cytokine-producing cells in the lung tissues of patients with fatal hantavirus pulmonary syndrome

UMMS Affiliation

Center for Infectious Disease and Vaccine Research; Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases and Immunology

Publication Date


Document Type



Immunity | Immunology and Infectious Disease | Immunology of Infectious Disease | Infectious Disease


Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) is characterized by the rapid onset of pulmonary edema and a high case-fatality rate. Hantavirus antigens have been demonstrated in pulmonary capillary endothelial cells, but the mechanisms causing capillary leakage remain unclear. Immunohistochemical staining was used to enumerate cytokine-producing cells (monokines: interleukin [IL]-1alpha, IL-1beta, IL-6, and tumor necrosis factor [TNF]-alpha; lymphokines: interferon-gamma, IL-2, IL-4, and TNF-beta) in tissues obtained at autopsy from subjects with HPS. High numbers of cytokine-producing cells were seen in the lung and spleen tissues of HPS patients, but only low numbers in the livers and kidneys. A modest increase in the numbers of cytokine-producing cells was detected in the lungs of patients who died with non-HPS acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), and very few (or no) cytokine-producing cells were detected in the lungs of patients who died of causes other than ARDS. These results suggest that local cytokine production may play an important role in the pathogenesis of HPS.

DOI of Published Version



J Infect Dis. 1999 Feb;179(2):295-302. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

The Journal of infectious diseases

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID