High concentrations of circulating interleukin-6 and monocyte chemotactic protein-1 with low concentrations of interleukin-8 were associated with severe chikungunya fever during the 2009–2010 outbreak in Thailand


Sukathida Ubol, Faculty of Science, Mahidol University, 272 Rama 6 Rd, Rathchatewee, Bangkok, 10400, Thailand. Tel: +662 201 5674; fax: +662 644 5411; email: scsul@mahidol.ac.th


The recent outbreak of Chikungunya virus in Thailand caused a rheumatic fever associated with considerable morbidity and fatalities. Thus, it is important to identify biomarker(s) of severe disease induced by this threatening arbovirus. Putative biomarkers in cases of chikungunya fever during an outbreak in the southern part of Thailand in 2009–2010 were identified. Sixty-two patients who had developed fever and myalgia, with or without arthralgia/arthritis, were enrolled and grouped into severe chikungunya fever (CHIKF) (n= 15), mild CHIKF (n= 20) and non-CHIKF (n= 27) to investigate circulating immunological mediators that might serve as markers of severity. Blood samples were taken at presentation (day 1) and 30 days later (day 30) and plasma concentrations of interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6, IL-8, IL-17, tumor necrosis factor-alpha, monocyte chemotactic protein-1 (MCP-1), matrix metalloproteinase-1, tissue inhibitor of matrix metalloproteinase-1 and viral load were measured by ELISA. On day 1, severe CHIKF and mild CHIKF groups had viral loads of 108.5 and 108.3 of RNA copies/mL, respectively. At presentation, all CHIKF patients had circulating concentrations of IL-6 and MCP-1 higher than did non-CHIKF patients, whereas amongst the CHKF patients, the severe CHIKF patients had higher IL-6 concentrations than did mild CHIKF patients. Interestingly, severe CHIKF patients had significantly lower concentrations of circulating IL-8 than the other groups of patients, suggesting that high concentrations of IL-6 and MCP-1 with low concentrations of IL-8 may be a determinant of severe chikungunya virus infection.