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Bioinformatics in Microbiota

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Front. Microbiol. | doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2018.02762

Evaluating the value of defensins for diagnosing secondary bacterial infections in influenza-infected patients

 Siyu Zhou1*, Xianwen Ren2,  Jian Yang1 and  Qi Jin1
  • 1Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical College, China
  • 2School of Life Sciences, Peking University, China

Acute respiratory infections by influenza viruses are commonly causes of severe pneumonia, which can further deteriorate if secondary bacterial infections occur. Although the viral and bacterial agents are quite diverse, defensins, a set of antimicrobial peptides expressed by the host, may provide promising biomarkers that would greatly improve the diagnosis and treatment. We examined the correlations between the gene expression levels of defensins and the viral and bacterial loads in the blood on a longitudinal, precision-medical study of a severe pneumonia patient infected by influenza A H7N9 virus. We found that DEFA5 is positively correlated to the blood load of influenza A H7N9 virus (r=0.735, p<0.05, Spearman correlation). DEFB116 and DEFB127 are positively and DEFB108B and DEFB114 are negatively correlated to the bacterial load. Then the diagnostic potential of defensins to discriminate bacterial and viral infections was evaluated on an independent dataset with 61 bacterial pneumonia patients and 39 viral pneumonia patients infected by influenza A viruses and reached 93% accuracy. Expression levels of defensins in the blood may be of important diagnostic values in clinic to indicate viral and bacterial infections.

Keywords: viral infection, Bacterial infection, diagnosis, defensin, Gene Expression

Received: 30 Aug 2018; Accepted: 29 Oct 2018.

Edited by:

Xing Chen, China University of Mining and Technology, China

Reviewed by:

Junjie Yue, Institute of Biotechnology (CAAS), China
Zheng Xia, Oregon Health & Science University, United States  

Copyright: © 2018 Zhou, Ren, Yang and Jin. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Ms. Siyu Zhou, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical College, Beijing, China,