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Am J Physiol. 1993 Nov;265(5 Pt 1):L472-8.

Respiratory syncytial virus-induced cytokine production by a human bronchial epithelial cell line.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill 27599.


Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is the most common cause of lower respiratory infection in infants and young children, but the pathogenesis of RSV-induced inflammation is not well defined. We hypothesized that in vitro infection of a human bronchial epithelial cell line (BEAS) would induce production of proinflammatory cytokines. BEAS cells were infected with RSV, and cells and supernatants were assayed for cytokine mRNA and protein changes at several time points after infection. Cytokine mRNA in BEAS cells was measured by polymerase chain reaction of reverse-transcribed RNA from whole cell lysates; cytokine levels in supernatants were measured by bioassay or immunoassay. Our results indicated that interleukin-5ay or immunoassay. Our results indicated that interleukin-8 (IL-8) was induced at 4 h after infection (during the eclipse phase of RSV infection) with accumulation of IL-8 in supernatants by 24 h after infection. Increased levels of IL-6 and granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor in supernatants were only detected by 96 h after infection, during the RSV replicative phase. Interferon-alpha and -gamma transcripts were not detectable at any time point. We conclude that the effects of RSV on airway inflammation may be at least partly mediated by sequential production of proinflammatory cytokines in infected airway epithelium.

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