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Viral Immunol. 2002;15(2):357-63.

Respiratory syncytial virus and pulmonary surfactant.

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Pediatric Pneumology and Allergy, Childrens' Hospital, Ludwig Maximilians University, Munich, Germany.


Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infections peak in young infants and are associated with significant morbidity. The collectins surfactant protein-A (SP-A) and SP-D are pattern recognition molecules that belong to the innate immune system of the lungs, forming a first line of defense. On the one hand, SP-A and SP-D levels are reduced during RSV infection. This may critically influence the invasion of RSV and also the virus-induced cytokine patterns of the host. Both collectins enhance the in vivo elimination of RSV. Thus, interactions before the virus enters the epithelial cells may determine the course of the infection. On the other hand, during severe RSV infection in infants, the biophysical surfactant function is reduced and exogenous surfactant substitution may be a valid therapeutic option for selected infants. Thus, all components of the pulmonary surfactant system are involved during severe RSV infection. Especially the collectins SP-A and SP-D may play a pivotal role determining the short- and long-term course of RSV infections in early infancy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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