IL-18BP in infants and children hospitalized with pneumonia

Pneumonia makes the top infectious cause of death in children, with especially high mortality in low- and middle-income countries. Interleukin-18 binding protein (IL-18BP), a natural antagonist of the proinflammatory cytokine interleukin-18, is raised in numerous autoimmune conditions and infectious diseases. 

This prospective cohort study determined the association between admission IL-18BP levels and clinical severity among children admitted to two hospitals in Uganda for hypoxemic pneumonia. It included a total of 42 children (median age of 1.2 years). And found that-

  • IL-18BP levels were higher in patients with respiratory distress, including chest indrawing and nasal flaring. 
  • Their IL-18BP levels positively correlated with the composite clinical severity score, Pediatric Early Death Index for Africa (PEDIA-e). 
  • Patients with IL-18BP > 14 ng/mL presented slower recovery times, including time to sit and time to fever resolution. 

This study shows that higher IL-18BP levels are associated with increased disease severity and prolonged recovery times in children with pneumonia.

Cytokine. 2022 Feb;150:155775. doi: 10.1016/j.cyto.2021.155775. Epub 2021 Dec 5. PMID: 34875584.

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