Research Blog

July 27, 2021

COVID-19: Blood Biomarkers - Interleukin 6

IL6 - Interleukins are interlocked with the ups and downs of inflammation in COVID-19

Dicken Weatherby, N.D. and Beth Ellen DiLuglio, MS, RDN, LDN

Elevations in cytokines have been recognized as hallmark characteristics of COVID-19.

The ODX COVID-19 Series

  1. COVID-19: The pandemic that has become endemic
  2. COVID-19: Overlapping risk factors and chronic disease
  3. Nutritional status COVID-19: A covert factor in disease susceptibility
  4. COVID-19: Blood chemistry biomarker patterns - Clues and patterns lurking just under the surface
  5. COVID-19: Blood chemistry biomarker patterns - Down the research rabbit hole
  6. COVID-19: Blood Biomarkers - Neutrophils
  7. COVID-19: Blood Biomarkers - Albumin
  8. COVID-19: BloodBiomarkers - Cytokines
  9. COVID-19: Blood Biomarkers - Interleukin-6
  10. COVID-19: Blood Biomarkers - Interleukin-10
  11. COVID-19: Blood Biomarkers - Vitamin C
  12. COVID-19: Blood Biomarkers - Vitamin D
  13. COVID-19: Blood Biomarkers - Zinc
  14. Biomarker characteristics and blood type - help sharpen the COVID-19 clinical picture
  15. COVID-19: Initial indications and conventional interventions
  16. COVID-19: Long-term risk reduction - Naturopathic, functional medicine, and nutrition-based approaches to prevention
  17. A healthy diet is primary prevention for COVID-19
  18. You should have a gut feeling about COVID-19
  19. Beyond dietary food patterns…plant-based compounds may mitigate COVID-19 risk
  20. Targeted nutrition support in the battle against COVID-19
  21. Targeted nutrition support in COVID-19: Armed with vitamin C
  22. Targeted nutrition support in COVID-19: In sync with zinc
  23. Targeted nutrition support in COVID-19: Micronutrients and phytonutrients are important players
  24. Optimal Takeaways for improving immunity and reducing susceptibility to COVID-19
  25. Optimal - The Podcast: Episode 8 -Blood Biomarkers and Risk Factors for COVID-19 and its Comorbidities

Serum levels of IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, IL-2R, IL-1β, and TNF-α were all significantly elevated whether patients fell into non-critical, critical, or mortality categories, reflecting the “cytokine storm” associated with COVID-19.[i] In this study, established normal ranges in pg/mL were below 7, 62, 9.1, 710, 5, and 8.1, respectively.

Source: Table S1 . Huang, Wei et al. “Decreased serum albumin level indicates poor prognosis of COVID-19 patients: hepatic injury analysis from 2,623 hospitalized cases.” Science China. Life sciences vol. 63,11 (2020): 1678-1687. doi:10.1007/s11427-020-1733-4
This article is made available via the PMC Open Access Subset for unrestricted research re-use and secondary analysis in any form or by any means with acknowledgment of the original source. These permissions are granted for the duration of the World Health Organization (WHO) declaration of COVID-19 as a global pandemic.

The cytokine storm and its manifestations have been observed in severe cases of COVID-19. Researchers liken it to the cytokine storm seen in Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). [ii] Research suggests that the spike protein characteristic of SARS-CoV-2 triggers increased IL-6 release and trans-signaling, leading to a hyperinflammatory response and cytokine storm.[iii]

Cytokine storm can have a wide variety of manifestations with cardiovascular, cutaneous, gastrointestinal, hematological, and neurological consequences. Its severity may be categorized as mild, moderate, severe, and life-threatening.[iv]

Cytokines have specific functions but an unbridled inflammatory cytokine storm can spell disaster for COVID-19 patients.

Next Up - COVID-19: Blood Biomarkers - Interleukin 10


[i] Huang, Wei et al. “Decreased serum albumin level indicates poor prognosis of COVID-19 patients: hepatic injury analysis from 2,623 hospitalized cases.” Science China. Life sciences vol. 63,11 (2020): 1678-1687. doi:10.1007/s11427-020-1733-4

[ii] Feyaerts, Adam F, and Walter Luyten. “Vitamin C as prophylaxis and adjunctive medical treatment for COVID-19?.” Nutrition (Burbank, Los Angeles County, Calif.) vol. 79-80 (2020): 110948. doi:10.1016/j.nut.2020.110948 

[iii] Patra, Tapas et al. “SARS-CoV-2 spike protein promotes IL-6 trans-signaling by activation of angiotensin II receptor signaling in epithelial cells.” PLoS pathogens vol. 16,12 e1009128. 7 Dec. 2020, doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1009128

[iv] Copaescu, Ana et al. “The role of IL-6 and other mediators in the cytokine storm associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection.” The Journal of allergy and clinical immunology vol. 146,3 (2020): 518-534.e1. doi:10.1016/j.jaci.2020.07.001

Tag(s): Biomarkers

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