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Volume 45, Number 4, August 2012

 Antigenemia and cytokine expression in rotavirus gastroenteritis in children

Tsung-Han Yu, Chi-Neu Tsai, Ming-Wei Lai, Chien-Chang Chen, Hsun-Chin Chao, Che-Wei Lin, Cheng-Hsun Chiu, Shih-Yen Chen

Received: May 25, 2011    Revised: July 6, 2011    Accepted: August 10, 2011   


Corresponding author:

Shih-Yen Chen, Divisions of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Department of Pediatrics, Chang Gung Children’s Hospital, 5 Fu-Hsin Street, Kweishan 333, Taoyuan, Taiwan.

E-mail address: (S.-Y. Chen).


Background and purpose: 

Antigenemia is commonly found in children with rotavirus infection, although its clinical significance is undetermined. The aim of this study was to evaluate the association of antigenemia with clinical manifestations and cytokine profiles in children infected by rotavirus.




 In total, 68 children hospitalized with rotavirus gastroenteritis were enrolled. Serum

samples were collected for detection of antigenemia and viremia. Clinical, laboratory and demographic
data were analyzed. Proinflammatory, Th1 and Th2 cytokines were evaluated by beadbased
flow cytometry.



Antigenemia and viremia were found in 45.6% (n Z 31) and 5.9% (n Z 4) of the 68 rotavirus-infected children, respectively. Themean age of the antigenemia groupwas significantly greater than that of the non-antigenemia group (43.5 vs. 27.3 months; pZ0.034). The antigenemia group had a significantly shorter length of hospitalization (4.8 vs. 5.8 days; p Z 0.0354) in comparison with the non-antigenemia group, and antigenemia was inversely associated with the length of hospitalization (bZ0.31, pZ0.021). A significantly higher tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-b level was found in the patients with antigenemia than those without (236.7 vs. 29.2 pg/mL, pZ0.026). The severity of disease and the rate of extra-intestinal manifestations did not differ between the groups. Viremia was associated with a higher fever (pZ0.012).



Antigenemia was positively correlated with shorter hospital stay in children with rotavirus infection. Enhanced innate and T-cell-mediated immunity evidenced by up-regulation of TNF-b was found in patients with antigenemia.


Key words:

 Antigenemia; Cytokine; Gastroenteritis; Rotavirus; Tumor necrosis factor-b