The University of Louisville Journal of Respiratory Infections


Purpose: Patients with severe community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) are believed to have an exaggerated inflammatory response to bacterial infection. Therapies aiming to modulate the inflammatory response have been largely unsuccessful, perhaps reflecting that CAP is a heterogeneous disorder that cannot be modulated by a single anti-inflammatory approach. We hypothesize that the host inflammatory response to pneumonia may be characterized by distinct cytokine patterns, which can be harnessed for personalized therapies.

Methods: Here, we use hierarchical cluster analysis of cytokines to examine if patterns of inflammatory response in 13 hospitalized patients with CAP can be defined. This was a secondary data analysis of the Community-Acquired Pneumonia Inflammatory Study Group (CAPISG) database. The following cytokines were measured in plasma and sputum on the day of admission: interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1ra), IL-6, CXCL8 (IL-8), IL-10, IL-12p40, IL-17, interferon (IFN)γ, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)α, and CXCL10 (IP-10). Hierarchical agglomerative clustering algorithms were used to evaluate clusters of patients within plasma and sputum cytokine determinations.

Results: A total of thirteen patients were included in this pilot study. Cluster analysis identified distinct inflammatory response patterns of cytokines in the plasma, sputum, and the ratio of plasma to sputum.

Conclusions: Inflammatory response patterns in plasma and sputum can be identified in hospitalized patients with CAP. Characterization of the local and systemic inflammatory response may help to better discriminate patients for enrollment into clinical trials of immunomodulatory therapies.


University of Louisville Division of Infectious Diseases and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute




In Table 1, the patient identification numbers, along with the heading for these, were inadvertently omitted. The numbers are important to match with those in the heatmaps and dendrograms in Fig. 1. The error has been corrected.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.



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