Background: Interleukin 6 (IL-6) is a proinflammatory cytokine that is secreted by cells infected with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and it is widely recognized as a negative prognostic factor. The purpose of this study was to analyze the correlations between the olfactory scores determined by psychophysical tests and the serum levels of IL-6 in patients affected by coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) Methods: Patients underwent psychophysical olfactory assessment with Connecticut Chemosensory Clinical Research Center test and IL-6 plasma level determination within 10 days of the clinical onset of COVID-19. Results: Seventy-four COVID-19 patients were included in this study. COVID-19 staged as mild in 34 patients, moderate in 26 and severe in 14 cases. There were no significant differences in olfactory scores across the different COVID-19 severity groups. In the patient series, the median plasma level of IL-6 was 7.7 pg/mL (IQR 3.7–18.8). The concentration of IL-6 was found to be significantly correlated with the severity of COVID-19 with a directly proportional relationship. The correlation between IL-6 plasma concentrations and olfactory scores was weak (rs = 0.182) and not significant (p = 0.12). Conclusions: In COVID-19 patients, psychophysical olfactory scores did not show significant correlations with the plasma levels of a well-recognized negative prognostic factor such as IL-6. This observation casts some shadows on the positive prognostic value of olfactory dysfunctions.
- Cytokine storm
- Interleukin 6