Cytokines in the management of rotavirus infection: A systematic review ofin vivostudies

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Rotavirus is a leading cause of childhood diarrhoea. Rotavirus vaccines are effective against severe rotavirus gastroenteritis, but have lower efficacy in low income countries in Africa. Anti-rotavirus treatment is not available. This study reviews the literature of animal studies evaluating whether cytokine mediated pathways of immune activation could improve rotavirus therapy.


We performed a systematic review of articles in English published from 2010 to 2016 reporting agents with in vivo antirotavirus activity for the management of rotavirus infection. The search was carried in PubMed, EMBASE, Scopus and Web of Science. Animal experiments where cytokines were investigated to assess the outcome of rotavirus therapy were included.


A total of 869 publications were identified. Of these, 19 pertained the objectives of the review, and 11 articles described the effect of probiotics/commensals on rotavirus infection and immune responses in animals. Eight further in vivo studies evaluated the immunomodulating effects of herbs, secondary metabolites and food-derived products on cytokine responses of rotavirus-infected animals. Studies extensively reported the regulatory roles for T-helper (Th)1 (interferon gamma (IFN-γ), interleukin (IL)-2, IL-12) and Th2 (IL-4, IL-6, IL-10) cytokines responses to rotavirus pathogenesis and immunity, inhibiting rotavirus infection through suppression of inflammation by viral inhibition.


Th1 and Th2 cytokines stimulate the immune system, inhibiting rotavirus binding and/or replication in animal models. Th1/Th2 cytokine responses have optimal immunomodulating effects to reduce rotavirus diarrhoea and enhance immune responses in experimental rotavirus infection.

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