Introduction Rotavirus is the most common cause of severe gastroenteritis in young children, but the pathogenesis of this disease and immunity to it are not completely understood. Less well recognised is rotavirus–induced central nervous system (CNS) involvement, which has been associated with seizure, encephalopathy and death.
Subjects and method We enrolled 20 children hospitalised in Tokyo Medical University (Tokyo, Japan) between 1999 and 2009. They had been given diagnosis of rotavirus- induced CNS involvement. Subjects were classified into two groups of patients with encephalopathy following prolonged seizure (encephalopathy group) and afebrile, and those with a brief cluster of seizures without encephalopathy (cluster group). We assayed 10 cytokines (IL-1β, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, IL-12, IL-17, TNF-α, IFN-γ, MCP-1 and G-CSF) in the CSF obtained from patients.
Result IL-1β and IL-6 increased in the group of children with encephalopathy compared with those in the cluster group. On the other hand, IL-17 levels of the cluster group were significantly higher than those of the encephalopathy group.
Discussion High cytokine levels in CSF may induce neurological disorders and may be related to the severity of disorders. This is, to the best of our knowledge, the first report about several cytokines in CSF obtained from patients with CNS involvement associated with rotavirus infection. Further study is necessary to determine whether CSF cytokine have an important role in rotavirus infection-induced CNS involvement.