Role of cytokines produced by T helper immune-modulators in dengue pathogenesis: A systematic review and meta-analysis


Internal Medicine

Document Type


Publication Title

Acta Tropica


Background and objectives: Modulation of the immune reaction is essential in the development of various diseases, including dengue's "Cytokine Tsunami", an increase in vascular permeability with concomitant severe vascular leakage. We aim to identify the role of T-helper (Th) cells, Th2 and Th7, with their related cytokines in dengue pathogenesis.

Material and methods: Nine electronic databases and manual search were applied to detect available publications. A meta-analysis using a fixed- or random-effect model was performed to measure standardized mean difference (SMD) with 95% confidence interval (CI). The National Institute of Health (NIH) tools for observational cohort, cross-sectional, and case-control studies were used to examine the risk of bias. The protocol was recorded in PROSPERO with CRD42017060230.

Results: A total of 38 articles were found including 19 case-control, 11 cross-sectional and 8 prospective cohort studies. We indicated that Th2 cytokines (IL-4, IL-6, IL-8) and Th17 cytokine (IL-17) in dengue patients were notably higher than in a healthy control group in acute phase (SMD = 1.59, 95% CI [0.68, 2.51], p = 0.001; SMD = 1.24, 95% CI [0.41, 2.06], p = 0.003; SMD = 1.13, 95% CI [0.61, 1.66], p<0.0001; SMD = 1.74, 95% CI [0.87, 2.61], p<0.0001), respectively.

Conclusions: This study provides evidence of the significant roles of IL-4, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10 and IL-17 in the pathogenesis of developing a severe reaction in dengue fever. However, to fully determine the association of Th cytokines with dengue, it is necessary to perform further studies to assess kinetic levels during the duration of the illness.





Publication Date



See full list of authors at journal website.