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Clin Exp Immunol. 2000 Aug;121(2):332-8.

Predominant type-2 response in infants with respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection demonstrated by cytokine flow cytometry.

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Department of Cellular Immunology, Institute of Immunology, University Hospital for Infectious Diseases, University Children's Hospital, Division of Virology, Croatian National Institute of Public Health, Zagrab, Croatia.


Acute RSV infection in infancy may produce some asthma-like symptoms and may be followed by a recurrent wheeze later in childhood. It has been proposed that RSV infection stimulates type-2 cytokine responses, resembling those found in atopy and asthma. Peripheral blood cells were obtained from RSV-infected infants (n = 30) and healthy controls (n = 10). After in vitro restimulation of the cells, intracellular IL-4 and interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) were measured by flow cytometry. The cells from RSV-infected infants produced more IL-4 and less IFN-gamma than those from healthy controls. IL-4 production was more frequent in CD8 than in CD4 cells, and the bias toward IL-4 production was greatest in infants with mild infections, whereas IFN-gamma production increased with disease severity. Our conclusions are that RSV infection is associated with IL-4 production in peripheral T cells, and that peripheral blood in infants with severe disease may be depleted of cytokine-producing cells.

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