Document Type


Publication Date



Copyright © 2020 by the American Thoracic Society. Rationale: Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) causes significant morbidity and mortality in infants worldwide. Although T-helper type 2 (Th2) cell pathology is implicated in severe disease, the mechanisms underlying the development of immunopathology are incompletely understood. Objectives: We aimed to identify local immune responses associated with severe RSV in infants. Our hypothesis was that disease severity would correlate with enhanced Th2 cellular responses. Methods: Nasal aspirates were collected from infants hospitalized with severe (admitted to the pediatric ICU) or moderate (maintained in the general ward) RSV disease at 5 to 9 days after enrollment. The immune response was investigated by evaluating T-lymphocyte cellularity, cytokine concentration, and viral load. Measurements and Main Results: Patients with severe disease had increased proportions of CD8 (cluster of differentiation 8)- positive T cells expressing IL-4 (Tc2) and reduced proportions of CD8+ T cells expressing IFNγ (Tc1). Nasal aspirates from patients with severe disease had reduced concentrations of IL-17. Patients with greater frequencies of Tc1, CD8+ T cells expressing IL-17 (Tc17), and CD4+ T cells expressing IL-17 (Th17) had shorter durations of hospitalization. Conclusions: Severe RSV disease was associated with distinct T-cell profiles. Tc1, Tc17, and Th17 were associated with shorter hospital stay and may play a protective role, whereas Tc2 cells may play a previously underappreciated role in pathology.

Publication Source (Journal or Book title)

American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine

First Page


Last Page