Hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD) is a common pediatric disease caused by enterovirus infection. It typically presents as a fever along with flat, discolored spots and bumps on the hands, feet, and mouth. Compared with other viruses, enterovirus 71 (EV71)-induced HFMD is more prone to cause severe complications in children, such as brainstem encephalitis, cardiopulmonary disorders, and even death. More in-depth studies are still necessary to understand the characteristics of EV71-induced HFMD, although some related research has been reported so far. High-mobility group box 1 (HMGB1) is an inflammatory cytokine that can upregulate other inflammatory factors through its receptors, such as Toll-like receptors and the receptor for advanced glycation endproducts.
We prospectively investigated the alteration of serum HMGB1, interleukin (IL)-6, and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α levels before and after treatment in 82 children with HFMD.
We found that the serum HMGB1, IL-6, and TNF-α levels were significantly increased in EV71-induced HFMD, and that these changes were more serious in the severe and critical HMFD groups; however, there was no significant difference in the HMGB1 level between the normal control and mild HMFD groups. Moreover, the serum HMGB1 level was positively correlated with the alteration of serum IL-6 and TNF-α concentrations.
These results suggest that HMGB1 is involved in the inflammatory pathogenesis of EV71-induced HFMD and that the serum level of HMGB1 could be applied as a clinical indicator for the severity of HFMD, and also a sign for the recovery prognosis of HFMD.