Int J Med Sci 2021; 18(11):2394-2400. doi:10.7150/ijms.56683

Research Paper

Correlation between ground-glass opacity on pulmonary CT and the levels of inflammatory cytokines in patients with moderate-to-severe COVID-19 pneumonia

Zubo Wu1*, Xiaoping Liu2*, Jie Liu1, Feng Zhu3,4, Yali Liu1, Yalan Liu1✉, Hua Peng1✉

1. Department of Pediatrics, Union Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, 1277 Jiefang Avenue, Wuhan, 430022, P.R. China.
2. Department of Emergency and Pediatrics, Shenzhen Baoan Women's and Children's Hospital, Jinan University, Shenzhen, 518102, P.R.China.
3. Clinical Center of Human Gene Research, Union Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, 1277 Jiefang Avenue, Wuhan, 430022, P.R. China.
4. Department of Cardiology, Tongji Medical College, Union Hospital, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, 1277 Jiefang Avenue, Wuhan, 430022, P.R. China.
* These authors contributed equally tot his work.

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Citation:
Wu Z, Liu X, Liu J, Zhu F, Liu Y, Liu Y, Peng H. Correlation between ground-glass opacity on pulmonary CT and the levels of inflammatory cytokines in patients with moderate-to-severe COVID-19 pneumonia. Int J Med Sci 2021; 18(11):2394-2400. doi:10.7150/ijms.56683. Available from https://www.medsci.org/v18p2394.htm

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Abstract

Objectives: Comparative analysis of laboratory data in moderate-to-severe COVID-19 patients presenting with or without ground-glass opacities (GGOs).

Methods: This retrospective study examined 61 patients with moderate-to-severe COVID-19, as defined by the report of the WHO-China Joint Mission on COVID-19. All patients were admitted to the Department of Infectious Diseases, Wuhan Union Hospital from Dec 28, 2019 to Feb 22, 2020 and classified into a GGO group or a non-GGO group based on CT results. The clinical characteristics and laboratory data of the two groups were compared. Data were analyzed using univariate and multivariate analysis, and using receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis.

Results: Forty-five patients were in the GGO group (73.8%, 21 females, 24 males, mean age 54.8±17.8 years) and 16 were in the non-GGO group (26.2%, 11 females, 5 males, mean age 53±14.9 years). The levels of IL-2, IL-4, and IFN-γ were greater in the GGO group (all P<0.05). ROC analysis indicated that an elevated level of IL-2 was a good predictor of GGO (area under the curve: 0.716, optimal cutoff: 3.205 pg/mL, 53.8% sensitivity, 87.5% specificity, p<0.05). Multivariate analysis showed that IL-2 level was a significant and independent risk factor for lung GGO (OR: 8.167; 95% CI: 1.63, 40.8; P<0.05).

Conclusions: There were correlations between GGO in the lungs of patients with moderate-to-severe COVID-19 and the levels of IL-2, IL-4, and INF-γ. IL-2 was a significant and independent risk factor for GGO. These findings provide a basis for studying the mechanism of pulmonary lesions in COVID-19 patients.

Keywords: COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, GGO, Moderate-to-severe, Inflammatory cytokines, Risk factors.