(GIST OF SCIENCE REPORTER) Cytokine Shower and Storm
Cytokine Shower and Storm
The term ‘cytokine storm’ was used in a document discussing graft-versus-host disease in 1993. Cytokine storm is also known as hypercytokinemia.
Cytokine is a general name for a large group of proteins, peptides or glycoproteins that are secreted by our immune system in response to a viral attack. These are a kind of signalling molecules that are responsible for the mediation and regulation of immunity. Cells of different embryological origins produce different cytokines throughout the body.
In the case of COVID-19, cytokine response determines the severity of infection. A cytokine storm occurs when our immune system releases pro-inflammatory cytokines in an excessive and uncontrolled manner. It can potentially result in multiple organ failure and death if not controlled timely.
According to clinical reports, some COVID-19 patients exhibited high inflammatory parameters and pro-inflammatory cytokines especially IL2, IL6, IL7, IL8, IL10 and TNFa.
The inflammatory cytokine levels were found very high in some severely infected patients, which is a sign of a cytokine storm. Cytokine shower is a preliminary and mild stage of cytokine storm where the secretion of cytokines is elevated but not uncontrolled.