Decreased NK cells in cases of severe adenovirus pneumonia with liver dysfunction in pediatric intensive care unit: Evidence from 330 patients

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Yufan Yang
Jiaotian Huang
Haipeng Yan
Xun Li
Ping Zang
Xinping Zhang
Zhenghui Xiao
Xiulan Lu


Adenovirus Pneumonia, Liver Dysfunction, Natural Killer Cells


Background: Although the human adenovirus infection is common, adenovirus infection with liver dysfunction is rare.

Methods: To retrospectively analyze and compare the clinical characteristics and outcomes of pediatric patients diagnosed with severe adenovirus pneumonia with and without liver dysfunction, who were admitted to the pediatric intensive care unit of Hunan Children’s Hospital (South China University) between January 2018 and June 2022.

Results: Of the 330 severe adenovirus pneumonia cases analyzed (mean age, 19.88 ± 18.26 months), 102 were girls and 228 were boys. They were divided into two groups: those with liver dysfunction (n = 54) and without liver dysfunction (n = 276). Comparison analysis showed no significant between-group differences in body mass index and levels of white blood cells, neutrophils, platelets, albumin, total bilirubin, direct bilirubin, indirect bilirubin, creatine kinase, procalcitonin, creatinine, and urea nitrogen. However, the levels of alanine aminotransferase (175.99 U/L vs 30.55 U/L) and aspartate transaminase (215.96 U/L vs 74.30 U/L) were significantly higher in patients with liver dysfunction compared to those without liver dysfunction. Further analysis showed that pediatric patients with liver dysfunction had a significantly lower percentage of natural killer (NK) cells (6.93% vs 8.71%) and higher mortality rate (22% vs 9%) than those without liver dysfunction.

Conclusion: A decrease in serum NK cell levels in pediatric patients with severe adenovirus pneumonia could serve as a marker for monitoring the onset or progression of hepatic damage.

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