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J Immunol. 1999 Apr 1;162(7):4207-11.

CD8 T cells are essential in the development of respiratory syncytial virus-induced lung eosinophilia and airway hyperresponsiveness.

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  • 1Division of Basic Sciences, Department of Pediatrics, National Jewish Medical and Research Center, Denver, CO 80206, USA.


Viral respiratory infections can cause bronchial hyperresponsiveness and exacerbate asthma. In mice, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection results in airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) and eosinophil influx into the airways. The immune cell requirements for these responses to RSV infection are not well defined. To delineate the role of CD8 T cells in the development of RSV-induced AHR and lung eosinophilia, we tested the ability of mice depleted of CD8 T cells to develop these symptoms of RSV infection. BALB/c mice were depleted of CD8 T cells using anti-CD8 Ab treatment before intranasal administration of infectious RSV. Six days postinfection, airway responsiveness to inhaled methacholine was assessed by barometric body plethysmography, and numbers of lung eosinophils and levels of IFN-gamma, IL-4, and IL-5 in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid were monitored. RSV infection resulted in airway eosinophilia and AHR in control mice, but not in CD8-depleted animals. Further, whereas RSV-infected mice secreted increased amounts of IL-5 into the airways as compared with noninfected controls, no IL-5 was detectable in both bronchoalveolar lavage fluid and culture supernatants from CD8-depleted animals. Treatment of CD8-depleted mice with IL-5 fully restored both lung eosinophilia and AHR. We conclude that CD8 T cells are essential for the influx of eosinophils into the lung and the development of AHR in response to RSV infection.

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