Research Highlight

Some proteins could be early signs of severe dengue

doi:10.1038/nindia.2021.82 Published online 30 May 2021

A few small inflammatory proteins and accumulation of fluid in the liver and the lungs could indicate the severity of dengue infection at an early stage1, a research team from the Calcutta School of Tropical Medicine has found.

The levels of the small proteins and specific liver enzymes were much higher in severe dengue patients than those with the non-severe form of the disease, the scientists found.

The proteins and the enzymes, they said, could potentially be used as biomarkers to distinguish the severe form of dengue infection from the non-severe one.

Dengue is a mosquito-borne viral disease. Antibodies against the dengue virus may not be detectable until the fifth to eighth day of infection. A specific viral protein also disappears from the blood much earlier in non-severe infection, making it difficult to diagnose.

To find a way out, the scientists studied 97 dengue patients with severe and non-severe infection. They then measured the blood levels of small inflammatory proteins such as C-reactive protein (CRP), serum amyloid p component protein (SAP), interleukin-1beta (IL-1beta) and specific liver enzymes in all patients.

The researchers found that the levels of CRP, SAP and IL-1beta were higher in patients with severe dengue than those with non-severe dengue. They also detected high levels of the liver enzymes and decreased platelet counts in severe dengue patients.

The data from this study revealed that the increase in the levels of CRP and SAP was well related to the severity of dengue fever in the first few days of infection, the researchers said.


1. Patra, G. et al. Increased levels of pentraxins protein and cytokines bear good association in patients with severe dengue infection. Sci. Rep. 11, 511 (2021) Doi:10.1038/s41598-020-80144-0