Background: Severe respiratory syncytial virus infection (RSV) during infancy has been shown to be a major risk factor for the development of subsequent wheeze. However, the reasons for this link remain unclear. The objective of this research was to determine the consequences of early exposure to RSV and allergen in the development of subsequent airway hyperreactivity (AHR) using a developmental time point in the mouse that parallels that of the human neonate. Methods: Weanling mice were sensitized and challeged with ovalbumin (Ova) and/or infected with RSV. Eight days after the last allergen challenge, various pathophysiological endpoints were examined. Results: AHR in responce to methacholine was enhanced only in weanling mice exposed to Ova and subsequently infected with RSV. The increase in AHR appeared to be unrelated to pulmonary RSV titer. Total bronchoalveolar lavage cellularity in these mice increased approximately two-fold relative to Ova alone and was attributable to increases in eosinophil and lymphocyte numbers. Enhanced pulmonary pathologies including persistent mucus production and subepithelial fibrosis were observed. Interestingly, these data correlated with transient increases in TNF-α, IFN-γ, IL-5, and IL-2. Conclusion: The observed changes in pulmonary structure may provide an explanation for epidemiological data suggested that early exposure to allergens and RSV have long-term physiological consequences. Furthermore, the data presented here highlight the importance of preventative strategies against RSV infection of atopic individuals during neonatal development. © 2005 Becnel et al., licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
Publication Source (Journal or Book title)
Becnel, D., You, D., Erskin, J., Dimina, D., & Cormier, S. (2005). A role for airway remodeling during respiratory syncytial virus infection. Respiratory Research, 6 https://doi.org/10.1186/1465-9921-6-122