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© 2019 by the American Thoracic Society. Rationale: Studies of the immune responses at the site of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection are sparse despite nearly five decades of research into understanding RSV disease. Objectives: To investigate the role of mucosal innate immune responses to RSV and respiratory viral load in infants hospitalized with the natural disease. Methods: Cytokines, viral load, and type 2 innate lymphoid cell (ILC2) levels in nasal aspirates, collected within 24 hours of enrollment, from infants hospitalized with RSV infection were quantified. Measurements and Main Results: RSV severity in infants was categorized based on admission to the general ward (moderate) or the pediatric ICU (severe). Evaluable subjects included 30 patients with severe and 63 patients with moderate disease (median age, 74 d; range, 9-297 d). ILC2s were found in the nasal aspirates of patients with severe disease (0.051% of total respiratory CD451 cells) to a significantly greater extent than in patients with moderate disease (0.018%, P = 0.004). Levels of IL-4, IL-13, IL-33, and IL-1b were significantly higher in nasal aspirates of patients with severe disease compared with those of patients with moderate disease. Factors associated with disease severity were gestational age (odds ratio, 0.49; 95% confidence interval, 0.29-0.82; P = 0.007) and IL-4 (odds ratio, 9.67; 95% confidence interval, 2.45-38.15; P = 0.001). Conclusions: This study shows, for the first time, that elevated levels of ILC2s is associated with infant RSV severity. The findings highlight the dominance of type-2 responses to RSV infection in infants and suggest an important role of ILC2 in shaping the immune response early during RSV infection.

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American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine

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