Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Acute dengue virus 2 infection in Gabonese patients is associated with an early innate immune response, including strong interferon alpha production

Pierre Becquart12*, Nadia Wauquier13, Dieudonné Nkoghe1, Angélique Ndjoyi-Mbiguino4, Cindy Padilla1, Marc Souris56 and Eric M Leroy12

Author Affiliations

1 Centre International de Recherches Médicales de Franceville, BP 769 Franceville, Gabon

2 UMR 264 MIVEGEC, Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD)/Centre National pour la Recherche Scientifique/Université Montpellier I, Montpellier, France

3 Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale UMR-S 945, Laboratoire d'Immunité et Infection, Université Pierre et Marie Curie Paris 6, Paris, France

4 Université des Sciences de la Santé, Libreville, Gabon

5 UMR 190 Emergence des pathologies virales/IRD, Marseille, France

6 CVVD, Faculty of Science, Mahidol University, Salaya, Thailand

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BMC Infectious Diseases 2010, 10:356  doi:10.1186/1471-2334-10-356

Published: 17 December 2010



Dengue is now a leading cause of morbidity and mortality throughout the tropics. We conducted the first ex vivo study of dengue fever (DF) in African patients infected during the first Gabonese dengue virus 2 (DENV-2) outbreak in 2007, in order to investigate cytokine production, including the antiviral cytokine IFN-α, reported to be a potent inhibitor of DENV replication in vitro.


Levels of 50 cytokines, chemokines and growth factors were measured in plasma from 36 patients with DENV-2 infection, and in uninfected controls, using Luminex multiplex technology. The results were interpreted according to the day of sampling after symptom onset. PBMC from six patients were also studied for T lymphocyte cell surface marker expression by flow cytometry.


Acute DENV-2 infection elicited high levels of several pro-inflammatory cytokines (IL-6 and IL-17), chemokines (MIF, RANTES, IP-10 and MCP-1) and growth factors (G-CSF, GM-CSF and VEGF-A). We also observed high levels of IFN-α for the first time in adult DF patients, and CD4+ and CD8+ T cell activation at symptom onset.


Acute DENV-2 infection in African patients elicits a strong innate response involving IFN-α production, as well as an adaptive immune response.