High Levels of 15-Keto-Prostaglandin E2 Improve Acute Cold Recovery

Man with a cold, taking medicine, blowing nose
Man with a cold, taking medicine, blowing nose
Investigators conducted assessed whether oxylipins with proresolving capabilities reduces symptoms and sped up recovery in acute rhinovirus colds.

Higher levels of 15-keto-prostaglandin E2 (15-keto-PGE2) are significantly associated with fewer symptoms during recovery from acute colds caused by rhinoviruses, according to study results published in The Journal of Infectious Diseases.

The common cold is most often caused by rhinoviruses, which can induce oxylipins during early phases of infection. Further, infection induces oxylipins more quickly than other inflammatory mediators. As pro-inflammatory and proresolving oxylipins lead to variations in disease response, a team of investigators conducted a semiquantitative lipidomic analysis to determine whether oxylipins with proresolving capabilities could reduce symptom severity and increase the speed of recovery in acute rhinovirus colds.

The researchers collected nasal lavage fluid samples from 29 otherwise healthy volunteers (median age, 25 years; 79.31% women; 86.21% White) who were experimentally infected with rhinovirus-A16 (n=21) or placebo (n=8). Participants who were experimentally infected were either given a median tissue culture infectious dose (TCID50) of 100 (n=9), 500 (n=4), or 1000 (n=8). Over a 3-week span, investigators assessed volunteers daily for symptom burden and viral shedding; 71 oxylipins were analyzed.

Viral titers peaked 2 to 4 days following infection and dropped off quickly after; however, viral titers peaked later and dropped off more slowly in the 100 TCID50/mL cohort. There was no significant association between patient demographics and cold characteristics and recovery score.

Investigators performed regression analysis to characterize the association between day 3 oxylipin levels and symptoms during recovery phase; only 15-keto-PGE2 was significantly linked to recovery (P =.046). A multivariable model also suggested that 15-keto-PGE2 was significantly associated with recovery (P =.0043).

“We present a novel data reduction method for lipidomic data that utilizes an ensemble approach to identify oxylipins involved in the recovery phase of an [rhinovirus] infection,” the authors noted. “This elucidated a potential role of 15-keto-PGE2 in recovery from colds. Future studies are vital to further clarify the potential benefits of 15-keto-PGE2 and other oxylipins during viral infections.”

Disclosure: Several study authors declared affiliations with the pharmaceutical industry. Please see the original reference for a full list of authors’ disclosures.


Lane Starr NM, Evans MD, Lee KE, Gern JE, Denlinger LC. Ensemble analysis identifies nasal 15-keto-PGE2 as a predictor of recovery in experimental rhinovirus colds. J Infect Dis. Published online March 3, 2021. doi:10.1093/infdis/jiab015