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Immunology. 2003 Jan;108(1):109-15.

Respiratory syncytial virus infection and virus-induced inflammation are modified by contaminants of indoor air.

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Department of Microbiology & Immunology, Institute for Lung Health, University of Leicester, University Road, Leicester, UK.


The airway epithelium is the first cellular component of the lung to be encountered by the particles and pathogens present in inhaled air. In addition to its role as a physical barrier, the immunological activity of the airway epithelium is an essential part of the pulmonary immune system. This means that the symptoms of lung diseases that involve immunological mechanisms are frequently exacerbated by infection of the airway epithelium with respiratory viruses. The virus-induced enhancement of immunological activity in infected epithelial cells is well characterized. However, the effects that contaminants of inhaled air have upon the infectivity and replication of respiratory viruses and the inflammation they cause, are comparatively unknown. In this study, we have shown that pre-exposure of airway epithelial cells to bacterial lipopolysaccharides or a proteolytically active house dust mite allergen, is able to, respectively, inhibit or enhance the level of cellular infection with respiratory syncytial virus and similarly alter virus-induced expression of the inflammatory chemokine interleukin-8. These results suggest that respiratory syncytial virus infection and the inflammation caused by respiratory syncytial virus may be modified by the biologically active contaminants of indoor air.

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