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Viral Immunol. 2004;17(2):220-33.

Innate immune responses in respiratory syncytial virus infections.

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Graduate Program in Microbiology and Immunology, Arizona Respiratory Center, University of Arizona HSC, Tucson, Arizona, USA.


Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is the most important viral respiratory pathogen of early life. Studies of the immune response in general (and the innate response in particular) to this agent are of interest for a number of reasons. First, severe forms of illness may be a result of enhanced immunologic responsiveness to viral constituents at the time of infection. Secondly, the immune response to RSV may consist principally of innate immune responses at the time of maximum severity of illness. Third, RSV infection in infancy may be linked via immune mechanisms to the development of childhood wheezing. Finally there are no meaningfully effective forms of therapy for RSV infection, and elucidation of the immune response may suggest new therapeutic approaches. This review will summarize our current knowledge of innate immune responses to RSV infection. Specifically we will review early interactions of the virus with surfactant proteins and Toll-like receptors, chemokine release from infected cells, cytokine release from activated inflammatory cells, activation of neuroimmune pathways, generation of dendritic cells, the release of soluble mediators of airway obstruction, and genetic polymorphisms associated with RSV-related illness.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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